These reflections lead me to a simple proposal. Adopt the same model for grade school and high school teaching that works for colleges. Currently, few of the best students from the best colleges are grade school or high school teachers. (The most encouraging data merely suggest that high school teachers may be a bit above average, while grade school teachers are considerably below average). This is not because the best students have no interest in teaching.
Top doctoral programs have far more applicants than they can accept, and many excellent students don’t apply, either because they do not have a high enough level of specialized skills or because they do not want to risk the terrible job market for college teachers. Such students would form a natural pool for non-college teaching if the pay and working conditions were anywhere near the level of the college average. There are also many excellent students with no interest in the advanced research that is the focus of doctoral programs who would prefer non-college teaching to less intellectually engaging and less socially useful work in, say, management or sales.
Who Should Teach Our Children? by Gary Gutting, New York Times
I think the argument posed by this