How the Bad Economy Could Produce Better Teachers
Why We Need Merit-Based Teacher Scholarships
Every fall, I stand at the education department booth at the academic fair for incoming students at Wellesley College and watch long lines form in front of the economics department’s booth beside me.
If there’s a silver lining to the cloud that has settled over Wall Street, it may be this: Some of those economics majors I saw in September, the ones who were thinking about becoming investment bankers, might be reconsidering. Students are hearing about alums—associates and vice presidents at places like Lehman Brothers who have put in years of long hours and working weekends—who may be losing their jobs (not to mention their chances of becoming managing directors).
But many college students think teaching is a low-status job, and for many at elite colleges and universities, it often is. Part of the remarkable growth of Teach For America, for example, has occurred because such students view it more as social-justice work than teaching, and know that it’s very selective. My Wellesley students buy in to Teach For America’s marketing message that it’s about getting “the best and...
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