A counterstrike against the war on teachers

Sometimes you hear that teachers aren't smart enough. But that's not the problem.  As Jack Schneider, writing in The Washington Post points out, "American teachers aren’t dumb; only the way we support them is."

‘If only American teachers were smarter…’
If assertions about the poor academic preparation of American teachers were accurate, the policy fix would be easy.  But such hysteria is generally unfounded.  Teachers go to legitimate schools, they get decent grades, and the overwhelming majority of them possess degrees in the subject they teach.  More than half possess graduate degrees. Consequently, there’s very little low-hanging fruit to pick. 
Adequately educated though they may be, we could still work to select teachers from a more elite slice of college graduates.  Comparisons, for instance, are often made with doctors—the implication being that educational policymakers should turn to the medical profession as a model. 
The first problem is scale.  There are roughly four times as many teachers as there are doctors.  What would happen to the selectivity of the medical profession, we might ask, if its ranks quadrupled in size? 
The second obvious problem is that of pay.  Pediatricians—the lowest earning doctors—make roughly $150,000 a year on average.  That’s three times what the average teacher makes.  Equaling pediatrician salaries, then, would entail a $325 billion increase in annual educational expenditures—roughly $2,750 per U.S. household. 
But even if the costs were lower, there would still be cause for skepticism.


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