David Brooks has two pieces worth checking out.
One is on the zeitgeist around teacher quality, good summation of the times and the evolution of the issue.
The second is his regular Times column, this one about the humanities. Unfortunately, what’s happening at too many public institutions is that as public funding declines and an “eat what you kill” ethos starts to define internal funding decisions among various schools, liberal arts and humanities are getting squeezed. They can’t attract the big dollars the way more vocationally-oriented or applied schools generally can. I don’t minimize the inefficiencies of universities and the need for real cost-containment and productivity enhancing strategies. But, at the same time, we need some governors willing to stand up and point out that great states invest in great universities precisely because of the intrinsic benefits, the good or just society, and not because of any particular vision of economic returns, development, or competitiveness.
Preview: On my stack of books to read is this new one from Martha Nussbaum that discusses this issue.