As a close follower of the position papers of Republican presidential candidates, I've long been under the impression that teachers in America are a bunch of shady unionized borderline thugs, like the Teamsters with frumpier clothing. But according to a new study, a few good apples out there in our crumbling schools are actually getting something accomplished, while robbing the taxpayers blind. Who knew? The NYT reports:

Replacing a poor teacher with an average one would raise a single classroom's lifetime earnings by about $266,000, the economists estimate. Multiply that by a career's worth of classrooms.

"If you leave a low value-added teacher in your school for 10 years, rather than replacing him with an average teacher, you are hypothetically talking about $2.5 million in lost income," said Professor Friedman, one of the coauthors.

And this on the same day as another study showing that students enrolled in online "virtual schools" do far worse on standardized tests than their peers in real schools that have, you know, teachers. Huh. It's almost as if it's useful for students to have a teacher... and more useful to have a very good teacher.

Now if they would just stop demanding to be paid a living wage, this nation could get somewhere. To the future (with children hope for your family fiscal conservatism god bless America)!

[Photo: AP]