Build it and they will come

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Several mornings a week, at the ungodly hour of 5:40 a.m., I take a spin class (hip name for a bunch of people riding stationary bikes) at my local Y.  The reaction I get when I tell people (ugh! how can you  get up so early in the morning to do that?) has got me thinking lately that the class offers a lesson for teacher prep.

You see, the Y offers a lot of spin classes all day, but the earliest one is by far the best. It's the most grueling workout, taught by merciless instructors. (In fact, we'll get the occasional sub who is practically booed off her bike if she lets up on the pace.)  At later classes, the instructors are more apt to intersperse the workouts with "free rides," letting each rider decide how much -- or more likely, how little -- to sweat.
The 5:40 a.m. class is also a lot more diverse than later classes, and attracts more men.  Most everyone is super fit, though people like me who aren't all that fit but willing to try real hard are still welcome.

Here's the kicker:  The class isn't sparsely attended, as you'd expect given its demands and the time of's almost always full.  Routinely, a poor soul who has dragged himself out of bed before sunrise but arrives a bit too late is turned away for lack of an available bike. 

So what does this have to do with teacher prep? It shows that offering the easy path is not always the best way to attract the most talent or the hardest workers.  I'm willing to wager that a high quality teacher prep program which emulated the features of my spin class would also be turning away folks at the door. (Notice how Teach For America does this already, at least with its selection process...) Why doesn't a teacher prep program build it and see if they will come?