Teachers: Why the Rules Don't Work

Anyone who tries to get a teaching job in U.S. public schools confronts a thicket of state rules — rules that say what college courses and how many credits are needed to get a state teaching certificate. The purpose is lofty; it is to ensure that teachers know their business.

Why, in practice, do the rules do precisely the opposite?

The best reply ever given to that question was published by Harvard's former President James B. Conant last week in The Education of American Teachers (McGraw-Hill; $5). The product of two years' fact finding in 22 states, Conant's answer is that...

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