In recent conversations with colleagues I’ve heard a few exclaim “we won’t agree to lower our standards!” and “we aren’t going to go backwards on our education!”
I haven’t heard anyone suggesting that we lower our standards or go backwards, so I was baffled.
Only momentarily, though, because then I remembered -The Acupuncture Revisions Proposal from the POCA Tech BOD to “revise acupuncture education and testing standards so as to benefit current and future (1) acupuncture students, (2) acupuncture schools, (3) acupuncturists, and (4) the general public.”
They make clear that their proposed standards are based around students meeting all of the competencies required for ACAOM accreditation and preparing graduates to be safe and effective practitioners. (The proposal is concise, well-written, and worth reading. Please do.)
Unfortunately, “high standards” in this profession has come to mean number of hours spent in school. So any change in the number of hours is interpreted as a lowering of standards.
I understand how it happened. When we’ve fought for acceptance, we’ve stressed our hours of training to establish our worth. When clients mention that they got acupuncture from their Chiropractor, we talk about how much time we spent in acupuncture school compared to the D.C.’s short courses. Hours of education has been a battle cry in the dry needling fight. (Which has been mostly unpersuasive since the PT’s 1) deal in competencies, and 2) we use different rules when we count our hours and we count theirs.)
Actually, a standard is “a conspicuous object (such as a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle.” (Merriam-Webster).
So, hours has become our standard. But it’s such a meaningless standard. I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s been to three-day CEU classes that have been a complete waste of time while a one-hour class contains a transformative nugget. I’ve spoken to people who have taught at some acupuncture schools and the picture they paint is not of hour after hour of quality programming.
We’ve got a workforce that needs to grow. And levels of educational debt that are an impediment to professional success. Affording graduate school and repaying loans isn’t going to get easier.
Read the Acupuncture Revisions Proposal with an open mind.
Our banner should be more meaningful than a number.