Beyond that, we as a society need to be encouraging those who want to teach to pursue that career path. They need to know just how much we value them. Think about it - teaching just doesn't generate the "WOW" factor that wanting to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Scientist, etc generates. IMHO those who want to teach and have the gift of teaching should get an even bigger WOW from us.
<p>BG, I think everyone here can agree with that sentiment. How to get there? The "wow" factor seems closely related to $$, so better compensation would help. But as mathmom pointed out, public schools tend to pay better than privates (thanks to unions), even though the worst teachers are in the public system (thanks to unions). As a socialist, I can't bash unions, so I'm stymied. My solution, for my own kids, for most of their years, was to choose private schools where I knew the teachers were stellar. I think a voucher system enabling all parents to choose would help.</p>
<p>My undergrad years were in a state college, a bad one, and my only choice because of my family situation. This college had/has no admission standards beyond graduation from high school, and even that was waived for some (for me, in fact). The college was historically a teacher's college (or "normal school), so although I wasn't taking education courses, most students were. It was understood that students who couldn't cut it in the "regular" classes were funneled into the education classes. These were the dumbest of the dumb, really. And the education professors weren't much brighter. The culture of mediocrity was so pervasive that it simply wasn't questioned. And this was the source of most of the state's teachers. I actually bussed my oldest kid out to the next state, to a school taught by respected teachers, when he was old enough to make the commute.</p>
<p>So, yeah, let's encourage our most capable students to go into teaching. Let's pay attention to the quality of the education programs. And when those students emerge as smart, knowledgeable, effective teachers, let's give them the respect and rewards they deserve.</p>