Teachers have to discipline students, since parents are hardly involved, many do not even show up to parent/teacher conferences, and some simply could not care less if their kids pass a single class. To them, its to late, they don't feel its their job to educate their kids, and they leave everything to the schools.
Now, with budgets being cut dramatically, specially in California, many teachers are being laid off or they are warned that they must take a 12 to 14 percent pay cut or face layoff. It seems that teachers who by the way are highly educated, and are responsible for all other educated citizens of this country are not getting a fair shake. They sacrifice their time after school, on the weekends, yet they get little respect.
Teachers are the most educated, yet the least compensated, they are required to work from 10 to 12 hours per day, including weekend. Much of the work is done during off hours, after school, during the weekend, when they are on vacations.
If you want better teachers, you will find that you already have very good teachers out there, and that much of the hoopla going around is nothing more than political posturing by public officials who seem to use this issue to further their political careers, and make it seem like they are doing something productive.