There was a time when professional societies seemingly proliferated exponentially; where election to office and appointment to committees were highly desired; and when corporations sponsored their employees membership and hosted meetings. There are still some very active professional societies, but often the local chapters have found themselves starved for support.
Are professional societies still relevant? With the internet making information so readily available, through wiki or search engines; with bulleting boards letting people respond at leisure and after thought; and with conference calls and webinars saving time and car fare; is there much point in people sitting down face to face to discussed subject matter – especially with the distraction of the formal minutes and treasurer’s reports and the like? Besides, corporate Human Resources department look askance on such activities by employees for fear that these meetings are golden opportunities to network to get better jobs and leave the company.
Well, all of these are true, but only partially so. Further the criticisms are contradictory when taken en masse. If Human Resources is more concerned about losing people than getting them through the networking of company employees, that doesn’t say much for the health and prospects of the company. Further, there is no way to bring in new ideas and new people, if someone doesn’t go out and get them. It’s a “win some, lose some” equilibrium situation, but only if the company stagnates – which it will if it doesn’t get new people and idea into it.
OHIO EDUCATION ASSOCIATION | OEA
Website: Ohio Education Association (OEA)
Ohio Education Association was formed in 1847 by a group of teachers as Ohio State Teachers Association to advance the cause of education in Ohio. This carried on the vision of Congress under the Article of Confederation 60 years earlier, which in writing the Northwest Ordinance of 1887, noted ". knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. ." What sort of knowledge? While literature, geography and history would remain in the core curriculum, knowledge of mathematics and the sciences would play an ever increasing hand.
Ohio, in 1847 was a burgeoning marketplace and manufacturer, operating notably at the crossroads of commerce in forestry products, iron ore and coal. These traverse from the Great Lakes to the Ohio river via the Ohio and Erie Canal, operating between Cleveland and Portsmouth; and the Miami and Erie Canal, operating between Toledo and Cincinnati. To this was added the burgeoning oil refining business in the 1870s and the growth of the chemical industry. Education had to keep pace with the growing needs of technologically oriented businesses; and the need for more teachers, and more scientifically trained teachers, would not have been attainable without the guidance of the profession.
The drive for post secondary education teacher training took form in The Lowry Normal School Bill of 1910 which resulted in the establishment of Kent Normal School (now Kent State University) and Bowling Green Normal School (now Bowling Green University). Presently a Bachelor of Education or Master of Arts in Teaching is required to teach public school in the state of Ohio.
As these reforms, driven in concert with OEA, were being attained; the issue of obtaining a more professional rate of pay, benefits, and working conditions for teachers came to the fore; and the OEA became the bargaining unit for teachers in a majority of Ohio schools. Most recently the OEA has revamped their information system to provide an accurate assessment of the overall economic environment of the profession, and the a stronger basis for valuation of responsibilities and skill sets.
This does not mean that the OEA has abandoned its original mission, however. It is still the leading voice for professionalism and continuing education. There is a continued call for change in schools and school systems to keep pace with the needs of industry and commerce, while at the same time addressing the social and cultural environment that students bring with them to class. The OEA is lending the expertise of it's members in forming policies that meet these challenges and anticipate future ones.
Visit OEA online