The Non-Conformist

Why can’t Texas’ schools attract the talented teachers our children so desperately need? And why do so many teachers—including the few good ones—teach for only one or two years before fleeing to more satisfying jobs? We found some answers in talking to Carl Truscott.

Truscott, who taught French, came to Houston’s Mirabeau B. Lamar High School in 1974 as a recruit of the late Harold Costlow, who was then Lamar’s principal. Although Truscott lacked the education courses Texas requires of all certified teachers, he had something Costlow valued more: he was considered the top French student at the University of Houston. Costlow reasoned that if you want a French teacher, you should hire the one person you can find who knows French best. And by most reckonings the theory worked; observers agreed that Truscott made an exceptional teacher. So everyone was happy. Everyone, that is, except that state of Texas and the Houston

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