Micket Kaus has some common sense ideas about getting good teachers:
It's easier to hire good teachers if you can fire bad ones. Competent people want to work for competent organizations. Which offer would you be more likely to take: "Come work for our school district. We weed out the deadwood and we're doing a great job preparing our kids," Or "Come work for our district and spend your life beating your head against a bureaucratic wall."
Yes, teachers should be paid more--but it's weird that an idealistic liberal would think good candidates are only motivated by money. (And if you could fire bad and mediocre teachers then school districts wouldn't have to spend a big chunk of any pay raise boosting the salaries of ... bad and mediocre teachers).
Weed out bad old teachers and expand the pool of potential good new teachers by allowing certification of people who haven't met the mindless credential requirements fiercely defended by the unions.
I think Rush was the first one to say our education systenm is not about teaching kids but employing people. You often hear how tough it is to be a teacher. Being a student is even worse. You're stuck with whoever the machine sorts you into and your entire experience with a subject can be ruined with a half-assed instructor.
We have a lot of people that would make excellent teachers that wouldn't hassle themselves with the certification process and locked-in pay scales. What talented and ambitious person is going to join an organization where pay is determined simply by longevity? Lynnette would seem to an exception that rule, but her determination is working her into a lot of opportunities outside the classroom. I can't imagine her working for the school system in 5 years.