To Improve Schools, Make it Harder to Become a Teacher

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Reposted from Amanda Ripley on Slate:

“In a handful of statehouses and universities across the country, a few farsighted Americans are finally pursuing what the world’s smartest countries have found to be the most efficient education reform ever tried. They are making it harder to become a teacher. Ever so slowly, these legislators and educators are beginning to treat the preparation of teachers the way we treat the training of surgeons and pilots—rendering it dramatically more selective, practical, and rigorous. All of which could transform not only the quality of teaching in America but the way the rest of us think about school and learning.

Unlike the brawls we’ve been having over charter schools and testing, these changes go to the heart of our problem—an undertrained educator force that lacks the respect and skills it needs to do a very hard 21st-century job. (In one large survey, nearly 2 in 3 teachers reported that schools of education do not prepare teachers for the realities of the classroom.) Instead of trying to reverse engineer the teaching profession through complicated evaluations leading to divisive firings, these changes aspire to reboot it from the beginning.

The lesson for America is obvious: No one gets respect by demanding it. Teachers and their colleges must earn the prestige they need by being the same kind of relentless intellectual achievers they’re asking America’s children to be.”

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