For the past several years, conversations about American public education – and how to improve it – have grown increasingly loud and contentious. In fact, there’s only one issue on which it seems all sides can agree: when it comes to the learning environment, nothing matters more than a great teacher.
It’s ironic, then, that as a society we act as though nothing matters less. We internalize the notion that “Those who can’t, teach.” We speak in two-dimensional terms that portray educators as either mythical saviors or selfish laggards. And we accept the notion that the best way to address the needs of our poorest children is to temporarily drop our smartest, most inexperienced educators into the center of communities that are not their own.