So, I spent the past week at teacher training to teach AP United States history next year. Yes, I will be teaching to the test. Hopefully, the kids will buy in and generate some good scores over the course of the year and then on the exam. I've got about 5 inches of paper that is comprised of lesson plans, activities, essays, multiple choice questions, and the like. I know how the thing is scored and that the multiple choice section drives the test. I have the tools to teach the thing. Now all I have to do is go back and reconsider the syllabus that I submitted to the AP people, since it's probably a tad bit... wrong.
In other news, here's an article from Slate on the hiring of public school teachers. It's interesting, from the standpoint that it links studies done about the effectiveness of teachers in raising test scores and tries to then figure out where the common factors are in having effective teachers. (Turns out, it's nearly a mystery.) And it's also pretty anti-union, but again, that's understandable, since people tend to see the teachers' union as the reason bad teachers are able to stay in their jobs.