This is a must-read article: The Value of Teachers. I sat with a friend the other day and listened to her describe her son's current 4th grade teacher. The teacher seems to have been designed specifically to teach only about 0.002% of the U.S. student population - children that learn effectively and are able to thrive in a cruel dictatorship. As we talked, I found myself literally shaking because I was so upset by her stories. The teacher said to one girl in her classroom, (a girl that I know well and actually do expect will be able to escape this year's experiences with few battle wounds), 'Don't even bother to raise your hand any more because I am not going to call on you.'
Anyways, I could go on and on. I truly hope that our society will be able to find a consensus: an effective way to reward good teachers, and a way to let bad teachers go. Why would this profession be any different than any other?