Phi Beta Cons

The Bogey Man of the Social Work Bureaucrats

Back in September when the National Association of Scholars issued its report, The Scandal of Social Work Education,  the initial response was disappointing.  The NAS had worked on the study for over six months, and it was no slap-dash effort to score points.  We were looking for ways to take the ideology out of social work education.  Gradually, however, the report began to find its audience.  We heard from a state official in Hawaii that a key national organization, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), was going to discuss the report at its national meeting.  We confirmed this with a ASWB official.  George Will wrote a column complimenting the report.  Professors of social work have been writing saying that our account of the discipline is spot on. 
The tide of good news, however, was interrupted this morning by a letter from a lawyer representing the Association of Social Work Boards. He demanded that we take down our post saying that ASWB was going to discuss the NAS report at its annual meeting next month.  This is distinctly odd.  Just last week an official at ASWB confirmed to us that the report was going to be discussed at ASWB’s annual meeting.  Now ASWB is so fiercely determined that they are NOT going to discuss the report, they sic a lawyer on us.  He seems amusingly out of his depth and we have answered him (and ASWB) with a new posting on the NAS website here.
The ASWB’s actions seem oddly unmotivated.  It would be nice to know what was going through the heads of the good ASWB folks when they decided to unleash a lawyer and to demand that the NAS play along with their false account of events.  What in the world are these people afraid of? If they are afraid of looking like fools, this isn’t the way to go about it.