To improve our schools, we need to make it harder to become a teacher.

Amanda Ripley:

So far this month in education news, a California court has decimated rigid job protections for teachers, and Oklahoma’s governor has abolished the most rigorous learning standards that state has ever had. Back and forth we go in America’s exhausting tug-of-war over schools—local versus federal control, union versus management, us versus them.

But something else is happening, too. Something that hasn’t made many headlines but has the potential to finally revolutionize education in ways these nasty feuds never will.

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.

Wisconsin took one very small step toward teacher content knowledge, MTEL a few years ago.

Related: the National Council on a Teacher Quality has been reviewing schools of education.

  • william p rowe

    University professors of education who teach teachers how to teach must themselves pass the same tests because they can not teach what they do not know themselves. To qualify to teach teacher candidates a professor of education must have actually tought in public schools the same subject they are teaching teacher candidates ie tought reading to third grader for 3 years,math,science etc.

  • 1. If we do this are we also going be willing to (a) pay our teacher the equivalent of teachers in Finland get paid and (b) prepare all our students to be ready to learn, like those students in Finland.
    2. My experience (I put 5 children through the el-hi experience) is that the attitude of the teacher is often more important than their smarts. My children had several teachers praised for their competence, who drove them from that subject with their poor teaching and testing style.