While one often reads about scandals involving incompetent doctors, I think the U.S., overall, probably has the best doctors in the world. How do we do this and how might we adopt the lessons for teachers? I wrote about this in my February Huffington Post article, Rebutting Seven Myths About Teach for America (www.huffingtonpost.com/whitney-tilson/rebutting-seven-myths-abo_b_825437.html):
In an ideal world, the teachers in this country would go through a rigorous development program, as doctors do, that would look something like this:
1. Ed schools would be highly competitive (the nations with the highest achieving students like Finland and Singapore only take teachers from the top 10 percent of college graduates);
2. Ed schools would be rigorous and provide students with real preparation;
3. Graduates would have to pass a tough exam demonstrating that they'd mastered the content;
4. New teachers would enter a carefully controlled and monitored environment, with seasoned mentors by their side to make sure they learned (and did no harm);
5. Effective teachers would be rewarded and given more responsibility; and
6. Ineffective ones would be given additional support and, if that didn't work, counseled out.
In our dysfunctional, Alice-in-Wonderland education world, not one of these six things happens with any regularity.