Here's a great interview with the Mike Feinberg, one of the two guys who started KIPP, the Knowledge is Power Program: http://www.pbs.org/makingschoolswork/sbs/kipp/feinberg.html
These schools are quite amazing. Middle school kids who go to KIPP get into high schools like Deerfield, Andover, Stuyvesant, etc. And these are not privilieged kids, they're regular kids from the South Bronx or Houston.
If you read this piece, you realize that teachers at KIPP schools are expected to operate on a totally different level than most teachers. They are there from 7am to 5pm. They are held accountable for their teaching. They have to carry cellphones so their kids can call them at night. They have to be damn good teachers.
That's the kind of teacher I want to be. But I'm so terrified that I won't be. I mean, I don't think either my classes or my student teaching is at all preparing me for that kind of rigor. KIPP hires a lot of teachers from Teach for America. They have experience and the academic background that KIPP wants, but the thing is that they basically had to go through 2 years of disappointing hell in a regular public school to get there. The reason I didn't do Teach for America was precisely because I didn't want to start out somewhere that was doing a mediocre to terrible job of educating kids. That is exactly the kind of environment where my soul withers and dies and I have to brush the wilted pieces into a little pile and then vaccuum them up with the new power vaccuum my roommate just bought at Home Depot.
The fact is that Teach for America and regular public schools often drive people out of teaching because the experience is so terrible and so disappointing. I can stand almost any level of hard work, but what I cannot stand is incompetence, laziness, and seeing people letting kids down. I don't know. Maybe a good school would hire me right away. But based on what education school is doing for me, they would have every reason not to.