Without doubt, the most striking content of the piece comes from Anthony Carnevale, the newest economist turned education expert to be named a Fellow at the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE). In a remarkable display of Alice in Wonderland logic, he makes the case that public education colleges, the NEA, and their weak teacher candidates are the culprits in the continued de-skilling of teaching and the teacher proofing of school by the rise of the textbook/testing industry lobby:
Let's see if I have this right: these liberation-minded Deweyans and Freireans in the schools of education are responsible for turning our future teachers and children into non-thinking drones?
Among the historically intractable problems in retaining teachers are low status and low pay, says Anthony Carnevale, a senior fellow at the National Center on Education and the Economy. Because the public sector will never pay as much as the private, he says, and because unions have resisted extra pay for high-demand skills like math teaching, the gap in ability between teachers and other white-collar professionals will become bigger, not smaller.
In Mr. Carnevale's bleak picture, learning will no longer be an act of discovery but a process of drilling in predetermined principles of success. Teachers will become part of a docile force of assembly-line workers, trained to execute someone else's plans, with little room for serendipity. Some teachers complain that this is already happening in urban systems, including New York's.
In this model, education schools will have to compensate for a meager talent pool by idiot-proofing teacher training. "You tie their teaching methods to standards so that in a very aggressive way they learn to teach to the results of those tests, like a soldier," Mr. Carnevale says. "The voluntary military didn't always get the best of human capital. But what you did was make the training so rigorous it didn't matter."