An excellent WSJ OpEd, which shows that the problem is not teachers in general, but teachers unions. Highlights:
No longer is education reform an issue of liberals vs. conservatives.
[T]he documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman,'” which strongly criticizes the public education system, continues to succeed at the box office.
[I]ncreasingly accepted is that the interests of teachers unions aren’t the same as the interests of children, or even of most teachers.
Until recently, the unions asserted that they spoke for teachers… Any proposal they didn’t like, they labeled part of a “war on teachers.”
“Waiting for ‘Superman'” … highlight[s] exceptional teachers and point[s] out that teachers unions don’t focus enough on teacher quality.
So we are seeing not a war on teachers, but a war on the blunt and detrimental policies of teachers unions. (my emphasis)
The bottom line is that focusing on effective teachers cannot be taken as a liberal or conservative position. It’s time for the unions to drop their polemics and stop propping up the bottom.