UPDATE: Teachers are getting quite defensive in the comments section, which puzzles me. I'm advocating excellence and accountability for teaching. In what respect does that contain an "antagonistic undercurrent," as one teacher commented? We should demand excellence and accountability in every profession, including journalism. I revere teachers. In another life I would have become a teacher. I have been volunteering as a tutor in an inner-city Baltimore elementary school for more than a decade, and I can't believe the toil and dedication of the professionals there. Teaching is one of society's most important professions. That's why we should hire the very best people we can, hold them to high standards, pay them what they're worth when they meet expectations and hold them accountable when they don't.