This Inside Higher Ed article on teacher quality and the comments that follow the article are interesting for both what is said and what has been omitted. The major thesis of the article is that selectivity will equal great teaching and the means of determining selectivity is valid....even though that is far from proven. It is a given that more great teachers are needed.
Like most key issues in our society, the real challenge is in defining the problem and the real debate is who gets the power to set the definition and evaluation system (see immigration, global warming, medical care, etc.). This is a complex issue with many many uncontrollable variables and one that will take many attempts to solve. Our solution attempts should be formative and proven at regional or local levels versus one big NCLB solution. (that has gone well)
The unmentioned acumen of great teachers is the ability to inspire students through care, patience, and helping them down the road of discovering their gifts. We are having this discussion on devices made by companies like Dell and Apple and software from Microsoft or Google. The founders of these companies did not get permission from a high GPA or standardized test to go forth and make these innovations. They discovered their gifts and had the freedom to succeed and fail. Where is the discussion and the ideas to help our next generation do great things?