Randi Weingarten, the President of the American Federation of Teachers wrote an Op ed. piece in the Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2012, entitled “How About a Bar Exam for Teachers?”. Her proposal was to require teachers to pass a certification exam before allowing them into the classroom, for which, in most cases, they are ill prepared for success. The next day in the Journal there were several letters to the editor ranging from mild approval to strong opposition.
I have never been a fan of Ms. Weingarten’s “take no prisoners” approach to union leadership, but I do believe she has made an important suggestion. Teachers who are fresh out of college are not prepared to handle students effectively without improved training. If they had to pass a Teaching Bar Exam, this would force colleges to modify their curriculum to accomplish a higher level of preparation.
Another goal that could be achieved would be to include as a significant section of the exam, the demonstration of the ability to teach ethics. The missing element in our school systems is the teaching of ethics to our future political leaders, as well as our potential leaders in every other aspect of our American society.
In my book, “Ethical Meltdown,” I did not cover the military in order to limit the book to two hundred pages. However, in light of the news that hit the media after my publication date, it is clear that the lack of ethics in the military is part of our national moral disintegration.
General Petraeus, the Commander in Afghanistan, and until recently, Director of the CIA, made news all over the world because of his affair with Paula Broadwell and his emails to her. We then learned that Marine General John Allen, presently the top commander in Afghanistan, had emailed between 20-30,000 pages to his girlfriend, Tampa Socialite Jill Kelley. Both men are married and not to these women!
Next we find out that the US Air Force is taking broad measures to prevent sexual misconduct against female recruits during basic training. The Air Force said it had identified twenty-three instructors that had unprofessional relationships with, or committed sexual assaults against forty-eight trainees. Five of the instructors have been court-martialed and convicted, and one staff sergeant was sentenced to twenty years in prison. Apparently, this conduct has been going on for some time, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Obviously there is an epidemic of unethical behavior that is reaching staggering proportions in our military, which only reflects the country as a whole.
This unethical conduct is only a small part of the military story. A growing number of career soldiers have confessed to siphoning millions of dollars from defense contractors in Iraq and Kuwait. Stay tuned for my next blog.