In tight financial times–at any time, really–government ought to be smart in the way it uses your money. But it often spends education dollars rather foolishly. One key example is when it treats teachers as interchangeable parts.
See The Widget Effect, an interesting and useful new study from The New Teacher Project, on the need to make sure that we recognize good teachers, give all teachers appropriate feedback for continuous improvement, and dismiss ineffective ones. While taking these steps is important for all children, they are especially important for those from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.