A Look at the Long Influence of Professional Organizations
Professional organizations related to teaching and education have a history as long as American schooling itself. The American Philosophical Society, formed in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, is credited as the first society dedicated to the pursuit of scholarship in the United States. Later, more organizations were formed with the objective of advancing the cause of specializations. The American Historical Association, the Modern Language Association of America, and the American Home Economics Association also have mandates centered on the promotion of “useful knowledge.”
One of the oldest organizations concerned with the interests and welfare of education practitioners was the National Education Association (NEA). Formed in 1857, their charter included the growth and advancement of the interests of the teaching community. The NEA had little influence until the 1870s, when interest grew in the organization, along with an increase in membership. In 1916, the American Federation of Teachers was formed. This organization had a direct influence on teaching conditions and could, through collective bargaining, obtain better wages, pensions, and other benefits that improved teaching conditions.
Several other organizations, such as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the American Educational Research Association, the National Commission on Teacher Education and Professional Standards, the American Association of University Professors, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, also championed various causes of the teaching profession and continue to help maintain teachers’ professional statuses.
Are you involved in any professional organizations? Academic groups provide professional networking opportunities as well as personal support. To learn more about professional organizations and their place in education, check out our other articles on the topic.