So there was this report written to help a major US city improve its public schools. Local leaders had gone to Boston to learn about a number of????groundbreaking reforms that had generated????some pretty impressive results. They came back particularly impressed by Boston's new types of schools, well-trained teachers, and well-respected administrators.
The most controversial part of the report was its recommendation to make it easier to fire bad teachers. The report noted that while most of the city's teachers were "faithful, well-educated, and conscientious," "too many ... are incompetent and unfit for their work."
To solve this problem, the report recommended an extended probationary period for new teachers and a tough examination for those who made it through to ensure that all of the city's classrooms were led by highly qualified educators. The report conceded, however, that no written exam could ever fully reflect all of the "essential qualities for successful teaching."
The report was attacked by "organized teachers' groups." "The educational reformers applauded it, but they were as yet too few to muster political support for drastic changes." The report was turned into legislation, which ultimately failed; the city's superintendent remarked: "There is little probability of...