Inasmuch as last week's column was about chickens (Chicken Littles, to be precise) it's fitting that this one is about canards-the loud-quacking kind-that need to be put out of their misery and cooked fast.
Roaming the education reform field, I've encountered many ridiculous statements hurled at those who seek major changes in the K-12 delivery system. My purpose here is to respond to a half dozen of the most absurd.
First canard: "You'd let anyone into the classroom to teach, without having them meet any external standards."
The truth: This canard is generally voiced by people who assume that the way to get better teachers for U.S. schools is to regulate entry ever more stringently via state certification and a requirement that everyone complete a state-approved and nationally-accredited training program. But why is this the only option? Private schools are free to hire whomever they like, as are many charter schools, and they seem to be doing fine. Why can't that freedom be extended to regular public schools as well? Each school should be able to select and deploy its own teaching team-and be held accountable for their classroom results. The state's role-here come the external standards-should be to ensure...