I was just reading about the education problems in this country, and at the same time about our recent obsession with prize-based game shows like "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
So I thought the networks could kill two birds with one stone, and perform a public service on top of that, by producing "Who wants to be a high school graduate?" High school kids from disadvantaged backgrounds or failing educational systems would compete on national television for money toward a full college scholarship, the nation's youth watches, and everybody learns. Think about it: "put the following conflicts in the order in which they were fought":
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Of course, when I come back to read this again and reflect on it (being several days later now), it seems kind of lame because it is only addressing half of the problem: we don't just need students interested in learning, we need capable people who want to teach. We need them to be intellectually motivated, and yes, financially motivated. We need to elevate the profession, put it up on a platter and worship the people who are doing it.
In prime time.
Or at least give them a lot of respect, a good deal of national attention...and a shitload of money (which comes in the form of a subsidy to their salary as long as they teach). No, it doesn't even have to be a shitload, just the difference between the sad amount that teachers are paid in public schools and some sort of median wage that the kind of intelligent, capable people that we would like teaching our kids actually earn. Plus a little bonus thrown in there for incentive. Not only would this turn a few more people into teachers who otherwise would not be, but it would act as a touchstone for the national debate on teacher compensation. How many people do you know that would teach if they knew they could pay their bills?
So in the interest of symmetry, and because it's probably a better idea, how about: "Who wants to teach a bunch of high school kids?"