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Thread: OAA Leadership Speech 1992

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    OAA Leadership Speech 1992

    I made the following speech at the 1992 OAA Leadership Conference. It might be worth reviewing after twenty years.


    Roy
    Several years ago the president of Tusculum College, wrote an article for the college newsletter that I found so profound that I clipped it out and posted it in my office. He related the following story:

    A tiny city had been held under siege by a great army. For days, help from the outside had been cut off. The people inside the walls of the city were filled with despair. Some had given up hope and were only waiting for starvation to take its course. Others bickered among themselves and criticized their fellow citizens.

    Near the edge of the city, just outside the walls, four men were huddled in serious conversation. Finally, one of the men addressed the others: "Why sit here idle until we die? If we return to the city we'll starve. If we remain here we'll be caught in the crossfire. Let us cross over to the camp of the enemy and stage a small battle of our own." These four men made some discoveries that all of us would do well to remember.

    Outside the walls these men had refused to accept defeat. "Why sit here idle until we die? Let's be up and on the move. If we must die, let's die on foot with our weapons in our hands." These men had learned the value of helping themselves. The notion that the good life can be achieved without effort is a myth. We, as individuals and as a profession would be well served drawing from this.

    When the men helped themselves, the "forces" began to work with them. Remember that ageless proverb, "God helps those who help themselves"? On that night long ago, the four men set out on their mission. They weren't prepared for what they discovered. The enemy camp was deserted, apparently abandoned in great haste. The enemy soldiers had departed in such a hurry that they had left all their provisions behind. In the night, the soldiers heard the noise of the four men approaching the camp. Thinking they were about to be overrun, they had fled.

    When the men helped themselves, others worked with them. When the four men entered the enemy’s camp and discovered the abandoned supplies, they said, "This is a day of great rejoicing. Let's go into the city and get others to help us gather the food." When the besieged people in the city heard the report of the four men, they left the city to assist in taking over the enemy's camp.

    There is a contagious quality to the courageous heart. While this principle may not work with mathematical precision, it is true that people are attracted to those who help themselves. Life tends to work this way. People follow those who struggle for good purposes. It is difficult to resist helping someone who is honestly working to help.

    Now it's true that our struggles within opticianry are not the "life or death" variety that faced the men in the city under siege. But we do face challenges that are monumental. Our profession seems to be under attack from all sectors. From within are those who cry, "do nothing lest we incur the wrath of greater powers." From without are those who want to destroy opticianry for professional gain or simple greed. We are a profession under siege and seem to be surrounded by the enemy.

    How has this been allowed to happen? As professionals we can proudly trace our history throughout centuries. Our group was large and strong enough to have withstood the division that came about when the dispensing optician and the refracting optician choose different paths. While the refracting optician pursued formal education and the right to create their own "lens measurements", the dispensing optician strengthened their historical and symbiotic relationship with ophthalmology. Now our world is rapidly changing. The once clearly defined relationship with ophthalmology is crumbling as more and more ophthalmologists enter the retail business of eyeglass dispensing. Optometry now attempts to claim as its own turf the dispensing of contact lenses and other skills of the dispensing optician.

    Even in this competitive atmosphere the dispensing optician is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and demand for professional services. Historically we've concentrated on passing along the science and art of our profession as always--father to son--or through closely guarded apprenticeship programs. This was possibly an acceptable training system in more lethargic times but now we find the skills and knowledge of our forbearers diluted as the demand for opticians increases and the hurried pace prevents the proper training of entry level personnel.

    Who argues for the continuation of this archaic training system? There are many factions within the walls of opticianry who defend it on the historical basis of "it’s what we've always done". Others assert the privilege to "teach them the right way to do things". Or "We teach them the way WE do things:. A few honest individuals state in very closely guarded moments that they don't want their employees to "know more than they do".

    From outside the walls of opticianry other arguments arise such as: "If they know more they'll be a professional threat to me". How about "the more they know the more we have to pay" school of thought? In the business world this is known as the "barefoot and pregnant rule". Certain sectors advocate that opticians are obsolete and that the profession should "forget optics, just concentrate on selling the second pair". The notion of training for "job specific skills" is popular even though it smacks of the thoroughly discredited Fredrick Taylor. You know of Taylor as the person who helped destroy Detroit with the "leave your brain at the door" management system.

    There are disjointed groups within opticianry battling for expanded professional parameters such as sports and safety vision. There are those seeking to regain the right to fit contacts. There are those wishing to retrace and rediscover the refracting opticians' use of the phoroptor. Certain state opticianry groups are attempting professional recognition through licensing. Others are fighting ongoing and vicious skirmishes to retain the right to take and record a PD or determine what spectacle lens to fit without a refractionists' permission.

    It's not that we as opticians lack the intelligence or desire to properly care for the public--for we have as evidenced by our long and valuable service. It's not that the consumer must be protected from an ignorant optician by a properly schooled refractionist. As we're all well aware there's a special humor in that statement! It's not that the will to learn is absent from our group since most state and national organizations require continuing education. What "IT" is is a common educational experience on which to build a professional identity. We, like the character from the Wizard of Oz, have the brains but lack the legitimacy bestowed by institutional learning. That is a weakness that we as a collective group must remedy.

    What I would propose today is a simple first step that we as opticianry must take if we are to survive and grow as a profession. For too long we've labored under the misconception that professional knowledge can be imparted through the use of outdated, outmoded, sporadically applied apprenticeship training. Such a program may applicable to the blacksmith or plumber but we are neither. We are health care professionals. We are not salesclerks, not fashion consultants, not associates, nor any of the other titles bestowed on the incompetent to mask ignorance. We’re opticians. We are health care professionals who have both expertise and professional standards.

    The path we must follow is not the easy route. While the easy road is wide and simple to negotiate it's also downhill, leading nowhere. The apprenticeship idea is antiquated, inefficient and a professional dead end. We are the last of the health care sector to cling to this concept and it's used daily to suppress our growth and threaten our existence. Our future and salvation lies in formal education. The example of "legislate then educate" set by early optometry cannot be emulated by opticianry. That path is now closed. We must have formal credentials to expand our scope of practice, and even to simply survive.

    Today, I'd like to propose that this group of state leaders take the first of many daring steps and adopt a resolution calling for the elimination of the opticianry apprenticeship program within five or less years. In its place I would suggest a uniform educational growth plan outlining the absolute minimum requirements necessary to be an optician. The embryonic stage would consist of a 24-semester hour certificate program along with an internship of duration and experience level necessary to qualify for an additional 10 semester hours of experiential credit. The 24 hours would consist of college classroom instruction in such subjects as: Optical Theory, Optical Finishing, Ophthalmic Dispensing, and Contact Lenses. The lab portions could be performed during the 10 semester hours of internship. This program can be implemented with minimum cost and lead-time, especially in those states with existing accredited opticianry schools. Later, this certificate course can be blended into an A.A.S. degree in General Technology. What I'm outlining can only be considered a beginning, designed to establish a bridge between our current position and our future goals that must include even more formal education. This first program may be expanded, compressed or modified as our needs dictate but it must be taken if we are to survive as a profession.

    Groups must be formed, state societies must cooperate with one another, internal differences must be set aside and most of all our national organization must provide some coherent long-term guidance to achieve this goal. It won't be easy.

    Ignorance is easy. Surrender is easy. This is not. Our quest will involve long and protracted battles against foes which are well known and many yet to be discovered. All these obstacles will be overcome if only we can abandon our fear of the unknown and "stage a small battle of our own".

    We have the expertise to carry out this plan located within the National Federation of Opticianry Schools. Call on them for a model program. Once it's outlined, let's pursue it with all vigor. That is how our professional growth will be achieved. Not through weekend "silver bullet" programs or company sponsored sales seminars. To be called an "optician" within the United States must become more than simply donning a white lab jacket with a nametag proclaiming ones status. It must be through formal education.

    The Achilles heel for our profession is simply the lack of proper academic credentials. No matter what the argument, the educational sword is unsheathed and used with savage effectiveness. "Why should the optician be allowed to fit contacts, when I had to attend four years of professional school to learn how to do so safely?" is the thrust which we attempt to parry with "formal education isn't necessary to fit contacts". "Why should the optician be a licensed health care professional when they aren't even educated?" is a slash that we block with our forearms. "If they are indeed a true profession, why have they never bothered to educate themselves?" may be the spear aimed for our hearts. Isn't it time for us to include an educational shield in our battery?

    Ladies and Gentlemen like the men from the city learned, there is value in helping ourselves. We have a professional choice to make: wait passively while we starve, or go forth and join battle. If we choose to fight, it must be for professional legitimacy through formal education. If we decide to take this strong and right position we shall find the "forces" are with us. Suddenly all our goals including, but by no means limited to, the fitting of contacts, use of the phoropter, and licensing come within easy grasp. Finally, if this small group gathered together here strikes out to upgrade and protect our profession others will join. You have the ability today to ignite a fire that will kindle desire and unite our entire profession. That is your mission and your challenge.

  2. #2
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Excellent and at the same time, discouraging. We've made so little progress in so many years.

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    I was present when this speech was presented the first time, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I like it even more today. Folks like Dr. Ferguson and me are often seen as the enemy; those fools who want everyone to be educated (what a concept, education)! We are not the enemy to anyone, unles you stand in the way of improving this profession........then we are your enemy. But we continue to reach through this cloud of apathy, and point to what can be, and try to inspire others to improve themselves. Many agree with us, and formed the Society to Advance Opticianry. Others continue to be fight the very essence of the thing that can make the entire field better, education. Now, this may take many forms, and can be hands-on, but it also must be suppoprted with the theoretical component found in a didactic program. It can be delivered in a face-to-face format, or online, but some way, Opticians have to learn all of the facets of the field, not just what an individual can teach them in an office. We have the competency, just require the structure, and if we can ever make this happen, the entire field will be better for the effort. So many other professions have proven our point for us, but there remains the inherent fears expressed by Roy's well-written piece above. We want to see the filed better than when we leave than when we started. I hope you have read and digested his speech. It is important for us all.

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    You can also blame the regulators of US licensed States that continue to adopt the simplistic basic ABO and NCLE exams as their official standard for optical competency. And some NFOS schools in those licensed States must share the blame, too. Some AAS schools have adopted the ABO/NCLE exams as part of their graduation requirements, with ABO offering to provide these ABO/NCLE exams to their graduates for free!! Graduates of these schools have completed an advanced two (2)-year AAS degree in opticianry, but instead of requiring the more rigorous Advanced ABO for State licensure, these licensed State regulators continue to require only the basic ABO/NCLE exams as their entry-to-practice standard. SHAME!!!
    SHAME on these new *** graduates who don’t speak up and take these basic simplistic ABO/NCLE exams, thereby perpetuating this mediocrity. SHAME on the State regulators who continue the basic ABO as their official standard of optical competency, and thereby give it an unwarranted credence. SHAME on ABO for bribing these opticianry schools with free basic ABO/NCLE exams to keep this basic ABO standard alive, thus maintaininmg their lucrative revenue stream.
    So much for raising the bar!!. And what has this Advanced Opticians Society done to change things? One (1) ½ years later and I still hear nothing new.
    Unfortunately Dr.’s McDonald and Ferguson are right... no progress in 20 years. The ‘ol boys’ are still in charge, and any ‘new boys’ remain impotent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    Folks like Dr. Ferguson and me are often seen as the enemy;
    Warren and Roy, I don't think anyone sees you as the enemy... our enemies are a few things.

    The cost of higher education makes an Optical Degree less cost effective.
    The availbility of said education is limited to only a few areas or schools. Schools are not generally close.
    Opticians in general are enormously resistant to change... any change.
    Opticians in general (not you guys on Optiboard, you are the exception) just want to learn the minimum to get by.
    Fear of what will happen to those who can't go to school. College is still an IMPOSSIBILITY for many because of life responsibilities.

    Until we can nibble at these structural defects in the current system we will face resistance. It requires a very strategic and broad based solution in a multitude of areas to initiate effective change. We need education, Opticians are resistant, but its no personal.... its structural.
    Last edited by sharpstick777; 03-07-2012 at 08:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmorse View Post
    You can also blame the regulators of US licensed States that continue to adopt the simplistic basic ABO and NCLE exams as their official standard for optical competency. And some NFOS schools in those licensed States must share the blame, too. Some AAS schools have adopted the ABO/NCLE exams as part of their graduation requirements, with ABO offering to provide these ABO/NCLE exams to their graduates for free!! Graduates of these schools have completed an advanced two (2)-year AAS degree in opticianry, but instead of requiring the more rigorous Advanced ABO for State licensure, these licensed State regulators continue to require only the basic ABO/NCLE exams as their entry-to-practice standard. SHAME!!!
    SHAME on these new *** graduates who don’t speak up and take these basic simplistic ABO/NCLE exams, thereby perpetuating this mediocrity. SHAME on the State regulators who continue the basic ABO as their official standard of optical competency, and thereby give it an unwarranted credence. SHAME on ABO for bribing these opticianry schools with free basic ABO/NCLE exams to keep this basic ABO standard alive, thus maintaininmg their lucrative revenue stream.
    So much for raising the bar!!. And what has this Advanced Opticians Society done to change things? One (1) ½ years later and I still hear nothing new.
    Unfortunately Dr.’s McDonald and Ferguson are right... no progress in 20 years. The ‘ol boys’ are still in charge, and any ‘new boys’ remain impotent.
    The ABO/NCLE is an issue, I will propose something else when I have time...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpstick777 View Post
    The cost of higher education makes an Optical Degree less cost effective.
    The availbility of said education is limited to only a few areas or schools. Schools are not generally close.
    Opticians in general are enormously resistant to change... any change.
    Opticians in general (not you guys on Optiboard, you are the exception) just want to learn the minimum to get by.
    As program director of an opticianry program, I offered to teach a 24 semester certificate course to all the apprentices in Tennessee. It would have been an “on demand” course taught by adjunct faculty in different areas of the state easily accessible for all students. The cost was minimal. The state society and the state licensing board went berserk in their total opposition to this. Ignorance in Tennessee was thus adopted as the preferred method of training opticians. By the way, the state society took great pride in the defeat of the proposal.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    America is/has been dumbed down, or dumbing down, for years.

    Just look at who our leaders and celebrities are. Nuff said.

    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy R. Ferguson View Post
    As program director of an opticianry program, I offered to teach a 24 semester certificate course to all the apprentices in Tennessee. It would have been an “on demand” course taught by adjunct faculty in different areas of the state easily accessible for all students. The cost was minimal. The state society and the state licensing board went berserk in their total opposition to this. Ignorance in Tennessee was thus adopted as the preferred method of training opticians. By the way, the state society took great pride in the defeat of the proposal.
    I would happily hire an optician with formal training such as this over one that has none all other things being equal, regardless of state acceptance. In fact, tried to find a student out of a local school here in Austin a few years back, and there was only one, and after tracking him down, he was already happily employed. So, I guess my point is, why not offer the classes anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy R. Ferguson View Post
    As program director of an opticianry program, I offered to teach a 24 semester certificate course to all the apprentices in Tennessee. It would have been an “on demand” course taught by adjunct faculty in different areas of the state easily accessible for all students. The cost was minimal. The state society and the state licensing board went berserk in their total opposition to this. Ignorance in Tennessee was thus adopted as the preferred method of training opticians. By the way, the state society took great pride in the defeat of the proposal.
    That is crazy Roy... What was there motivation to defeat an accessible and affordable offer?
    Was it fear? Too much work? Or politics?

    I wish we could hear from those people or have they all gone back to Taco Bell?

    Not participating is one thing, actively defeating is another. Anyone else from Tenessee who explain such abysmal lack of leadership?

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    I have another theory on why so many Opticians are resistant to education: Task Saturation.

    No other field requires so varied and diverse skills as Optical. We have to be mechanics to fix eye wear, bartenders to understand patients moods, accountants to figure out insurance benefits (what other medical field bothers with whats covered or not?), artists to find perfect frames, scientists to fix non-adapts and medical specialists because the MD didn't explain any of their exam to the patients (ODs do a much better job of this). Maybe there is so much stress out there Opticians see education as just one more stress to add to many? Instead of seeing education as they should, a stress reducer. Competency always reduces job stress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpstick777 View Post
    Warren and Roy, I don't think anyone sees you as the enemy... our enemies are a few things.

    The cost of higher education makes an Optical Degree less cost effective.
    The availbility of said education is limited to only a few areas or schools. Schools are not generally close.
    Opticians in general are enormously resistant to change... any change.
    Opticians in general (not you guys on Optiboard, you are the exception) just want to learn the minimum to get by.
    Fear of what will happen to those who can't go to school. College is still an IMPOSSIBILITY for many because of life responsibilities.

    Until we can nibble at these structural defects in the current system we will face resistance. It requires a very strategic and broad based solution in a multitude of areas to initiate effective change. We need education, Opticians are resistant, but its no personal.... its structural.
    I hear what you are saying, and appreciate your comments, but could we say the same for ANY OTHER allied health profession. Just because folks can't have an Optometry, or Pharmacy or other professional school in their back yard does not mean we should just let anyone enter the field. they go to where the schools are, and if Opticianry truly has a body of knowldge we can call our own, then we must require the same.

    You are right on the mark with your final comment, and that is really a shame, but if we are (or aspire to be) a true profession, we must requirean education. We do not suggest that all without a degree must go back to school, but have a cut-off point somewhere in the near futurre atfter which anyone who wishes to enter the field must have some kind of formal education. Opticianry requires hands-on training as well, but it must be supported with an expanded didactic phase so those in the field will know at least some basic optics, which is not the case currently. I was approached many years ago by the NAIT program from Canada. They agreed to offer their program (which is the largest Opticianry program in the world, and fully accredited in Canada) in US states that did not have an existing school for a very reasonable cost. I was excited, and thought it was a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, many within the existing Opticianry community (particularly the other schools) fought the idea. I assume it was a fear of competition? Who knows really, but it was a shame. State licensing boards are run largely by folks with no education and they certainly do not support it, which is again, a real concern. Licenses are issued to protect the public, and a better educated Optician can certainly do a better job if indeed knowledge is required to do what we do.

    The largest schools within universities are generally the business schools. It does not require a professional license to go into a general business, but obviously many folks have found them valuable to have, so why do Opticians not seek it. Online programs are available, and J Sargent Reynolds offers theirs to anyone. They recently had to fight the New Jersey opticianry schools because they sought to have their board disallow them from operating in that state, but at the same time would not offer any increased access to potential students beyond their traditional programs. Another example f the ridiculous things we do in this field.

    I am tired........quite frankly tired that folks do not wake up and smell the coffee. Dr. Ferguson and I have fought this battle for 30+ years, and I hope we have made some headway. While Mr. Morse has not seen much activity from SAO, I can only hope he will. We are striving to one thing, and one thing only.......provide some recogniotion for those who went the extra mile and sought a true education in this field. Like Charles Prentice and others did over a century ago, we seek more, and it will take time, but hope we get it. The difference betwee us and the founders of Optometry lies in the fact that we do not want to leave other Opticians behind, but provide some motivation for them to recognize the need for improvement. We truly do want the best for every Optician out there.
    Last edited by wmcdonald; 03-07-2012 at 09:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpstick777 View Post
    Warren and Roy, I don't think anyone sees you as the enemy... our enemies are a few things.

    The cost of higher education makes an Optical Degree less cost effective.
    The availbility of said education is limited to only a few areas or schools. Schools are not generally close.
    Opticians in general are enormously resistant to change... any change.
    Opticians in general (not you guys on Optiboard, you are the exception) just want to learn the minimum to get by.
    Fear of what will happen to those who can't go to school. College is still an IMPOSSIBILITY for many because of life responsibilities.

    Until we can nibble at these structural defects in the current system we will face resistance. It requires a very strategic and broad based solution in a multitude of areas to initiate effective change. We need education, Opticians are resistant, but its no personal.... its structural.

    I hear what you are saying, and appreciate your comments, but could we say the same for ANY OTHER allied health profession. Just because folks can't have an Optometry, or Pharmacy or other professional school in their back yard does not mean we should just let anyone enter the field. They go to where the schools are, and if Opticianry truly has a body of knowldge we can call our own, then we must require the same.

    You are right on the mark with your final comment, and that is really a shame, but if we are (or aspire to be) a true profession, we must require an education. We do not suggest that all without a degree must go back to school, but have a cut-off point somewhere in the near future atfter which date anyone who wishes to enter the field must have some kind of formal education. Opticianry requires hands-on training as well, but it must be supported with an expanded didactic phase so those in the field will know at least some basic optics, which is not the case currently. I was approached many years ago by the NAIT program from Canada. They agreed to offer their program (which is the largest Opticianry program in the world, and fully accredited in Canada) in US states that did not have an existing school for a very reasonable cost. I was excited, and thought it was a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, many within the existing Opticianry community (particularly the other schools) fought the idea. I assume it was a fear of competition? Who knows really, but it was a shame. State licensing boards are run largely by folks with no education and they certainly do not support it, which is again, a real concern. Licenses are issued to protect the public, and a better educated Optician can certainly do a better job if indeed knowledge is required to do what we do. Just as the aTennessee "leadership" killed Roy's idea, the national folks attempted to fdo the same to NAIT. It is still out there, and does take in a few US students each year, but I can tell you, the program is solid and could be a true help to places where schools do not exist. It is online and requires that people be working in the field, which is important.

    As to cost, remember that the only thing more expensive is ignorance. Optician largely are paid more than average school teacher salaries, and that requires a 4-year degree! The largest schools within universities are generally the business schools. It does not require a professional license to go into a general business, but obviously many folks have found them valuable, so why do Opticians fight so vehemently against it?. Online programs are available, and do a fine job. For example, J Sargent Reynolds offers theirs to anyone. They recently had to fight the New Jersey opticianry schools because they sought to have their board disallow them from operating in that state, but at the same time these local schools would not offer any increased access to potential students beyond their traditional programs. Another example of the ridiculous things we do in this field.

    I am tired........quite frankly tired that folks do not wake up and smell the coffee. Dr. Ferguson and I have fought this battle for 30+ years, and I hope we have made some headway. While Mr. Morse has not seen much activity from SAO, I can only hope he will. We are striving to one thing, and one thing only.......provide some recogniotion for those who went the extra mile and sought a true education in this field. Like Charles Prentice and others did over a century ago, we seek more, and it will take time, but hope we get it. The difference betwee us and the founders of Optometry lies in the fact that we do not want to leave other Opticians behind, but provide some motivation for them to recognize the need for improvement. We truly do want the best for every Optician out there.

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    Sao

    Warren, Roy, Gary, Wes, Johns, KCount, and others:


    Thank you so much for your input.

    Ted, please visit: www.advanceopticianry.org The Society to Advance Opticianry website...


    It's been a while since I have actively volunteered for an optical cause...too busy working hard and raising babies. However, I am confident that we can turn the tides... It will be a sloooowwww sometimes painful process, but we will get there!

    Ted, with all due respect, I have seen you and spent time with you at many NFOS meetings in the past. You seem to have a grudge against opticianry in America...correct me if I am wrong.

    And, with all due respect, you represent Canadian Opticianry...why the beef with how we do things in America? You are your own autonomous government...why gripe about us? Shouldn't you be more concerened with the state of opticianry in Canada?

    Laurie

    (Pierce, HCC/Tampa FL)

    : )

    Quote Originally Posted by wmcdonald View Post
    I hear what you are saying, and appreciate your comments, but could we say the same for ANY OTHER allied health profession. Just because folks can't have an Optometry, or Pharmacy or other professional school in their back yard does not mean we should just let anyone enter the field. They go to where the schools are, and if Opticianry truly has a body of knowldge we can call our own, then we must require the same.

    You are right on the mark with your final comment, and that is really a shame, but if we are (or aspire to be) a true profession, we must require an education. We do not suggest that all without a degree must go back to school, but have a cut-off point somewhere in the near future atfter which date anyone who wishes to enter the field must have some kind of formal education. Opticianry requires hands-on training as well, but it must be supported with an expanded didactic phase so those in the field will know at least some basic optics, which is not the case currently. I was approached many years ago by the NAIT program from Canada. They agreed to offer their program (which is the largest Opticianry program in the world, and fully accredited in Canada) in US states that did not have an existing school for a very reasonable cost. I was excited, and thought it was a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, many within the existing Opticianry community (particularly the other schools) fought the idea. I assume it was a fear of competition? Who knows really, but it was a shame. State licensing boards are run largely by folks with no education and they certainly do not support it, which is again, a real concern. Licenses are issued to protect the public, and a better educated Optician can certainly do a better job if indeed knowledge is required to do what we do. Just as the aTennessee "leadership" killed Roy's idea, the national folks attempted to fdo the same to NAIT. It is still out there, and does take in a few US students each year, but I can tell you, the program is solid and could be a true help to places where schools do not exist. It is online and requires that people be working in the field, which is important.

    As to cost, remember that the only thing more expensive is ignorance. Optician largely are paid more than average school teacher salaries, and that requires a 4-year degree! The largest schools within universities are generally the business schools. It does not require a professional license to go into a general business, but obviously many folks have found them valuable, so why do Opticians fight so vehemently against it?. Online programs are available, and do a fine job. For example, J Sargent Reynolds offers theirs to anyone. They recently had to fight the New Jersey opticianry schools because they sought to have their board disallow them from operating in that state, but at the same time these local schools would not offer any increased access to potential students beyond their traditional programs. Another example of the ridiculous things we do in this field.

    I am tired........quite frankly tired that folks do not wake up and smell the coffee. Dr. Ferguson and I have fought this battle for 30+ years, and I hope we have made some headway. While Mr. Morse has not seen much activity from SAO, I can only hope he will. We are striving to one thing, and one thing only.......provide some recogniotion for those who went the extra mile and sought a true education in this field. Like Charles Prentice and others did over a century ago, we seek more, and it will take time, but hope we get it. The difference betwee us and the founders of Optometry lies in the fact that we do not want to leave other Opticians behind, but provide some motivation for them to recognize the need for improvement. We truly do want the best for every Optician out there.
    Ophthalmic Optician, Society to Advance Opticianry

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    “Ted, please visit: www.advanceopticianry.org The Society to Advance Opticianry website...”
    I have visited this SAO website many times… and see that one of its main financial supporters is the ABO/NCLE organization.
    A pat on the back to someone trying to improve his optical education? I’m all for that. But the SAO is filled with some of the best-educated opticians in the USA and yet they support the basic ABO/NCLE exam as a State standard for licensure competency. This view will never advance opticianry in the USA, and the AAS educators reemain silent.

    ”You seem to have a grudge against opticianry in
    America...correct me if I am wrong.”
    You are dead wrong. I have supported opticianry in the USA since the ‘90’s.
    I try to attend VISION EXPO annually, usually ‘WEST’ and I have already booked accommodations for April’s CLSA’s meeting in Huntington Beach, CA. I have always appreciated the fine optical education that I received at these venues.
    But I do carry a grudge, and it is against apathy. I have see little progress in the advancement of competency standards in opticianry. Please expel;ion how is it that the basic ABO/NCLE continues to be supported by you and opticianry’s educational leadership even after the Advanced ABO exam became available?

    And, with all due respect, you represent Canadian Opticianry...why the beef with how we do things in America? You are your own autonomous government...why gripe about us? Shouldn't you be more concerened with the state of opticianry in Canada?

    Beef?…gripe?… I don’t represent Canadian opticianry, far from it. And I am certainly not government. I am very concerned with the state of opticianry in Canada, more than you’ll ever know. But that won’t stop me from calling attention to a bad state of affairs anywhere when it involves something dear to my heart…opticianry . Sorry if you don’t like it. J

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharpstick777 View Post
    That is crazy Roy... What was there motivation to defeat an accessible and affordable offer?
    Was it fear? Too much work? Or politics?

    I wish we could hear from those people or have they all gone back to Taco Bell?

    Not participating is one thing, actively defeating is another. Anyone else from Tenessee who explain such abysmal lack of leadership?
    While the state society was fighting so hard to avoid minimum educational requirements in Tennessee I keep asking the same questions. There were no answers, just blind, vicious (and ultimately successful) personal attacks directed against me at the state, regional, and national level. The college was deluged with coordinated and scripted complaints that had no basis, only volume and repetition. In the end, the proposal was destroyed and I was ousted as program director. If the society had worked as hard to promote the concept as to prevent it, we could have been the first state to have provided education to all our opticians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmorse View Post
    Please expel;ion how is it that the basic ABO/NCLE continues to be supported by you and opticianry’s educational leadership even after the Advanced ABO exam became available?
    I recently took the ABO Advanced exam and found it to be anything but advanced. It lacked the professional content of the old Master’s test and could best be described as optical trivia. Many questions were poorly phrased while others appeared to rely on single source references. The test, in its current form, would do a poor job testing minimum entry level competence.

    As most of you know, I have no great love for the risible ABO/NCLE exams. The major problem is the pass rate hovers slightly north of the 50% range. While these two exams lack depth and breadth, the content appears to continuously challenge the ill prepared and uneducated candidates taking them. Neither exam presents a problem to graduates of most well run college level opticianry programs.

  18. #18
    ABOM Wes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmorse View Post

    “Ted, please visit: www.advanceopticianry.org The Society to Advance Opticianry website...”
    I have visited this SAO website many times… and see that one of its main financial supporters is the ABO/NCLE organization. This is an untrue statement. We have received no funding from ABO-NCLE. Please review the difference between "supports" and "is sponsored by".A pat on the back to someone trying to improve his optical education? I’m all for that. But the SAO is filled with some of the best-educated opticians in the USA and yet they support the basic ABO/NCLE exam as a State standard for licensure competency. This is another false assumption. We have made no statements regarding State standards for licensure. We require both "Basic" exams to ensure that a member is at least somewhat rounded. Requiring both Advanced exams would limit the possible membership to AAS graduates and the score or so who have both Advanced Certifications. This view will never advance opticianry in the USA, and the AAS educators reemain silent.

    ”You seem to have a grudge against opticianry in
    America...correct me if I am wrong.”
    You are dead wrong. I have supported opticianry in the USA since the ‘90’s.
    I try to attend VISION EXPO annually, usually ‘WEST’ and I have already booked accommodations for April’s CLSA’s meeting in Huntington Beach, CA. I have always appreciated the fine optical education that I received at these venues.
    But I do carry a grudge, and it is against apathy. I have see little progress in the advancement of competency standards in opticianry. Please expel;ion how is it that the basic ABO/NCLE continues to be supported by you and opticianry’s educational leadership even after the Advanced ABO exam became available? Please review membership requirements. Either an AAS in Opticianry/Opticial sciences, or an Associate's degree and an Advanced Exam. It has not been easy finding passionate opticians that meet these minimal qualifications. As you have noted, American Opticianry is in disarray, and we have to begin by working with what we have and build on that. Crawl, Walk, Run. All of the initial startup capital was provided by the founding members. That is far from apathy, sir.And, with all due respect, you represent Canadian Opticianry...why the beef with how we do things in America? You are your own autonomous government...why gripe about us? Shouldn't you be more concerened with the state of opticianry in Canada?

    Beef?…gripe?… I don’t represent Canadian opticianry, far from it. And I am certainly not government. I am very concerned with the state of opticianry in Canada, more than you’ll ever know. But that won’t stop me from calling attention to a bad state of affairs anywhere when it involves something dear to my heart…opticianry . Sorry if you don’t like it. J
    Please do not let the "perfect" be the enemy of the "good". No organization is perfect, and compromises must be made to function in the environment we find ourselves in. I would certainly think an educator and advocate for higher standards would support what we are trying to accomplish.
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, MIS, ABOM, NCLE-AC, LDO - SC & GA

    “As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.” -Albert Einstein

  19. #19
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    I'm tempted to say "education-scmeducation" here. Why?

    Because both Optometry and Ophthalmology have soooooomany more formal years of education than us "lowly", street-urchin opticians. Yet, amongst the best of us to a man (please excuse this figure of speech, ladies), are far better diagnosticians and wizards at getting their clients the best possible vision and comfort in the eyewear.

    Go figure.

    I'm not trying to cast disparaging remarks against any dr.s here. Please understand this. The docs on this board are committed to the same standards of excellence and life-long learning that characterize the opticians I refer to above.


    The reason, I believe, is because those opticians fitting the above description apply themselves above and beyond because they have to. The other O's often toss problemstic or time consuming clients out the door, because, at least I think in part, because being the "dr." allows them to do so. After all, taking all those reeediculous, miniscule insurance payments leaves them little time to do otherwise.

    If i participated in the formulation of education standards, I wouldn't settle for less than a standard so much more comprehensive than what's out there today. Then, being licensed or certified would really mean something, and deilver tangible value. Perhaps we're simply mired in ed standards out of touch with what being a complete optician today really demands.

    B
    Last edited by Barry Santini; 03-08-2012 at 06:47 AM.

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    ABOM Wes's Avatar
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    Barry, you are also making the "perfect" the enemy of the "good".
    If we agree that the current situation is terrible, why is something better not acceptable? You and tmorse are not setting the standards, and what you advocate will be a loooong time coming. If ever. Incremental steps must be made, not giant leaps.
    The goal is to grow the profession into something better. This is an ongoing process. Instant perfection is not an option.
    Wesley S. Scott, MBA, MIS, ABOM, NCLE-AC, LDO - SC & GA

    “As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it.” -Albert Einstein

  21. #21
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wes View Post
    Barry, you are also making the "perfect" the enemy of the "good".
    If we agree that the current situation is terrible, why is something better not acceptable? You and tmorse are not setting the standards, and what you advocate will be a loooong time coming. If ever. Incremental steps must be made, not giant leaps.
    The goal is to grow the profession into something better. This is an ongoing process. Instant perfection is not an option.
    Wes,

    I disagree. The *first* to deliver the above will reap the rewards. All it takes is $$$ to underwrite it. Imagine if LC decided to train and employ opticians trained in the above manner...and paid them appropriately?

    They'd be, IMHO, a force to reckon with.

    I'm thinking of the IPAD as an example. A real Game changer, which is essentially dictating how we'll be interfacing with mobile information for the coming decades.

    Two years ago...it didn't exist.

    B
    Last edited by Barry Santini; 03-08-2012 at 09:41 AM.

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    Barry,
    I have absolutely no clue about you sometimes, but I think your view of an Optician is more merchant than mine. Remember us Southerners are a bit slower than you Yankees, but I think I am right. You feel we are the salespeople of the eyecare industry, and you are correct. All must sell something, but I bet most would also consider themselves professionals, so they really talk out of both sides of their mouths. They want professional recognition without the sweat equity it takes to really learn the body of knowledge. To "sell", or recommend or "prescribe" these new, more advanced products requires some requisite knowledge the average Optician simply does not have. Why not help them devlop it? I want more from this field. I want to see us expand our potential. You want to focus on doing what we do well, and improving our education will only help that. Why anyone, especially someone a bright as you are, would not favor a simple two-year Assosiate Degree as an entry point into this field is just beyond my understanding. It is a minimal entry point that every other health-related field has gone to long ago, except us. We are talking about the future folks who want to enter the field, not current folks.......they are already in the field, but think about it. Have other fields like Pharmacy, Nursing and others not continually increased the level of education required to enter those fields? That can only help those currently in the field, but somehow they feel someone might get ahead of them, so they fear education personally. We can be so much more, and education is starting point, and if we can get beyond much of the ignorance that exists in this industry, and think what can be versus wondering what heppened, we can be far more then the disorganized field we are now. You are either for formal education, or not. You always tout advanced topics, but most cannot even utilize Prentice's Rule or find the power of a lens in a given meridian. Why would requiring a formal education not be a good thing?

    My friend, you are extremely bright. You are, however, like many of my NY friends who cannot see beyond the state lines. NY is a great state with most Opticians there going to one of the schools. You do not get the picture of what s happening in these states where the only requirement to be an Optician is a pulse. In my travels across the country I see the glaring weaknesses we have in many places. We do not even have a uniform definition of what an Optician really is from state to state. What we are talking about here is something that can help this field all across the country, so if you suppor it, great. If not, please do not stand in the way with your euphamisms that most here can't even understand. Help us........we need you!

  23. #23
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Barry Santini's Avatar
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    That uniform definition MUST come from a professional body, with some clout.

    Who?

    I'm not standing in the way. I'm just for an agreed upon standard that is substantially above what we have now, even in NY (?)

    Otherwise, why bother? If a standard comes to pass, do you think that we'll be able to ratchet it up anytime soon after.

    I'm always for going for the old. I can't change that. Steve Jobs was NEVER satisfied with that.

    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wes View Post
    Barry, you are also making the "perfect" the enemy of the "good".
    If we agree that the current situation is terrible, why is something better not acceptable? You and tmorse are not setting the standards, and what you advocate will be a loooong time coming. If ever. Incremental steps must be made, not giant leaps.
    The goal is to grow the profession into something better. This is an ongoing process. Instant perfection is not an option.
    I agree that its incremental... But I think what Barry has been discouraged with is the focus has always been on purely Technical education. I don't think Barry is against education per se, but I believe he wants to see it include a thorough understanding of business and sales.

    I agree with Barry on that issue, it has to have business and sales education included.

    I am teaching an Optical Management class this quarter, and there has been a lot of resistance to my segment on "Professional Selling". We need to include business skills in a optical education.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wes View Post
    Barry, you are also making the "perfect" the enemy of the "good".
    If we agree that the current situation is terrible, why is something better not acceptable? You and tmorse are not setting the standards, and what you advocate will be a loooong time coming. If ever. Incremental steps must be made, not giant leaps.
    The goal is to grow the profession into something better. This is an ongoing process. Instant perfection is not an option.
    I agree that its incremental... something that is not discussed frequently enough.
    I think what Barry has been discouraged with is the focus has always been on purely Technical education. I don't think Barry is against education per se, but I believe he wants to see it include a thorough understanding of business and sales. Barry, pls correct me if I am wrong on putting words in your mouth.

    I agree with Barry on that issue, it has to have business and sales education included in this day and age.

    I am teaching an Optical Management class this quarter, and there has been some resistance to my segment on "Professional Selling". We need to include business skills in a optical education. Its a must, and a huge "credit" builder with the ODs because it complements their skills and education without encroaching.

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