There is so much rich depth and thought provoking information in this NCEE paper, it would be hard to digest it in a single sitting. EdWeek:
The NCEE report is the latest salvo in a flurry of national interest in what can be gleaned from education systems in top-performing or rapidly improving countries. It pushes further than other recent reports on the topic by laying out an ambitious agenda for the United States it says reflects the education practices in countries that are among the highest-performing on international assessments.
Among other measures, the report outlines a less-frequent system of standardized student testing; a statewide funding-equity model that prioritizes the neediest students, rather than local distribution of resources; and greater emphasis on the professionalization of teaching that would overhaul most elements of the current model of training, professional development, and compensation.
To whet your appetite, and encourage you to read it, here's some snippets. Nothing in the current reforms even hints that this is the direction we are going in. Indeed, it would be easy to argue we are going in the opposite direction with ill-thought out corporate reforms
Three things directly affect the quality of the pool from which a nation recruits its teachers: 1) the status of teaching in the eyes of the potential recruit, relative to the status of other occupations to which he or she aspires, 2) the compensation offered, relative to other possible choices, and 3) the conditions of work, meaning the degree to which the way the work is organized makes it look more like professional work than blue-collar work.
The results of these corporate reforms are becoming increasingly evident, as large numbers of prospective teachers instead choose alternative career paths
Furthermore, analysts are now noticing a large falloff in applications for admission to teachers colleges all over the country, a result of the financial crisis. Potential candidates, who used to view teaching as almost immune from the business cycle and therefore one of the most secure of all occupations, are noticing that teachers are being laid off in very large numbers and now see teaching as a very risky bet.
NCEE - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants