I especally like her comments about teacher accountability, recruiting and training good teachers, and on creating high-quality learning environments. It is clear that NCLB has sucked the life out of learning in K-12, not to mention that these standardized exams focus just on the superficial, surface level of things. And school politics have made an extreme mess out of hiring and retaining good teachers and even trying to identify good teachers in the first place. And school politics have made a mess of surpressing creative, engaging, thoughtful teaching and continue to demoralize teachers. With all the administrators breathing down their necks all the time about all these petty details to follow when teaching, I don't blame those talented in math who quit teaching after a short time or even to refuse to teach in the first place. Yes, we want support and guidance in our teaching, but others trying to control virtually every detail of our teaching is not supportive and does not provide any real guidance in improving our teaching just as a tutor doing homework for the students does not provide them any real guidance for improving their understanding of the subject material.
Such demoralizing learning and work environments holds back the governments' goals of wanting high-quality teachers in every classroom. And, of course, we need to work on raising the standards of how well potential teachers should know their subject material before they begin teaching. One serious problem I see for trying to identify those who are ready, at least in terms of understanding their subject, is that the teacher license exams do not ask the candidates to explain their answers. A potential math teacher who cannot explain his or her answers to others is not ready to begin teaching! It does not matter if he or she can discover a proof without assistance of the Riemann hypothesis though I would be quite impressed with the candidate's understanding of math.
I can relate to Sabrina's complaints about boring, unstimulating resources because the resources we often get for the online schools I teach for are boring and unstimulating; it is a wonder that the creators of these resources didn't fall asleep while creating them. They certainly don't stimulate more than a handful of students, which is especially bad for online students who have a lot of out of school duties to attend to. With all those distractions to face them, I can't blame much of them for not wanting to deal a whole lot with school. Who wants to spend much time on school with a crammed schedule outside of school if they don't feel they will get much out of school? And who really feels they get much out of something that is boring and unstimulating?
This post is definitely worth reading and discussing.