In this paper we identify the prevailing logic of teacher education policy in Australia, England and Scotland. We see this logic as emanating from the anxieties of western nations to retain global economic dominance by establishing their pre-eminence in the knowledge economy, at a time when China and India now dominate the global industrial economy. We suggest that this has placed increased focus on education (including teacher education) to produce more educated workers, with the quality of their preparation measured using internationally comparative scales such as PISA. The anxieties associated with poor performance on these measures have resulted in governments returning to the allure of the certainty and confidence of policy responses from a previous era. Thus, the current logic of teacher education proceeds from simplistic constructions of the problem, with a concern about poor student performance and poor teacher performance, and relying on a belief in a direct relationship between these. In this framing, the solution is to recruit better students into better teacher education. However, we argue that a better or more socially just logic for teacher education can be derived from focusing on teacher capabilities.