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Recently I heard a famous author tell a large congregation of educators that what he had told an auditorium full of middle-school students was the advice he would give himself if he were once again an adolescent. It made me think about what advice I would give my adolescent self. One thought was about how David O. McKay had stated that teaching, my chosen career, was “the noblest of all professions.” If I had known about President McKay’s endorsement when I was selecting education as a profession, his assessment would have helped me overcome any doubts I might have had over my decision.
Even though teaching is a noble profession, the number of individuals choosing it is decreasing. In fact, as I meet with other deans of education from across the United States, I find we are all struggling with the same problem: declining enrollments in teacher preparation programs. The article in this issue titled “Crisis in Education” addresses teacher shortages.
Although no simple solutions have been found for teacher shortages, those engaged in the education profession can contribute by talking positively about the field, recruiting those showing an interest in the profession, and quoting President McKay’s powerful statement: “I think it must be apparent to every thinking mind that the noblest of all professions is that of teaching, and that upon the effectiveness of that teaching hangs the destiny of nations.”
In addition to the discussion about teacher shortages, this issue also reports examples of the impact of McKay School faculty and alumni on the field of education. These individuals’ stories reflect a sample of the exceptional work taking place at the university and in the schools.