Teachers: the Push for Excellence

Archive Report

Upgrading the Quality

Criticism Aimed at Classroom Teachers

Complaints about public schools are legion: students who cannot read or write, achievement test scores on the skids, poor discipline, relaxed standards and lowered expectations. Move to the head of the list complaints about the nation's 2.1 million public school teachers. Teachers are not newcomers to criticism. Their competence has come under increasing public scrutiny since the late 1970s as states began requiring prospective teachers to pass skills tests to prove their basic ability.

But now teachers are the focus of debate on the quality of education. Several states, most notably Arkansas, California, Florida and Tennessee, have enacted in the last year controversial educational reform packages with a heavy emphasis on improving teaching. Others, like Virginia and North Carolina, ...

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