How to recruit qualified teachers? Better salary and teaching conditions would help. But the biggest roadblocks are the artificial barriers to entry created by the requirement that teachers take expensive, time-consuming courses from education schools. I have known many college-educated women who briefly considered becoming teachers after their children were born. In every case, it was the idea of taking two years and paying thousands of dollars to go to graduate school that proved prohibitive.
Yes, teachers need to learn classroom management and other teaching skills, but there is no evidence at all that boring, irrelevant grad school education courses help. Cutting the link to education grad schools would have educational side-benefits as well. Education grad schools are responsible for some of the doofiest, untested, destructive education fads of the last 20 years, such as the idea that not teaching kids the sounds of the alphabet (aka phonics) would help them to learn to read.
Here is a truly radical idea: Allow anyone who has graduated from an accredited four-year college with a major in his or her subject area, and who has passed the teacher certification test, to teach. Is that so hard?
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.