We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
That isn't news. However, the egalitarian fantasy which nobody truly believes hangs over much of America's educational industry.
Efficient primary education for the masses probably does work best for the most according to the Prussian model which American schools adopted during the 1800s as primary ed became government-run. One-size-fits-all authoritarian ed is in fact efficient, if terrible for boys, to learn the basics of readin, ritin, and rithmetic that any citizen needs to function in the world. The fundamentals are not much fun unless there is competition added to the mix.
When the primary school basics are not achieved, I tend not to blame the school because there are too many external variables at play.
Also drives me batty that no one cares about smarter students who are forced to move at a snail's pace unless a family decides to take on homeschooling (not everyone can do that) or put a child in private school (not everyone can afford that). Smart kids should be allowed to be in different learning environments...instead, they are forced to sit through lessons they understand much more quickly then their peers and be bored out of their minds so that lower-performing students can feel better about themselves. (as they claim separating kids by ability is 'wrong' b/c it makes slower learners 'feel bad.')
Quit the BS about boys and school.
Boys do just fine when the classroom is not run to girly standards. "The Prussian model" was centered around merit-based competition and individual achievement - both of which appeal directly to boys.
In my Orthodox Jewish community we had a double load of religious and secular subjects - and even the less gifted got through a very long school day.
Magic words: sex-segregated education.
It also helped that most of our teachers were men - and therefore tolerated a level of noise and energy that was appropriate to boys.
Did you know that Jewish seminaries and rabbinical academies are stocked with lecterns instead of desks, which lets the students stand, wiggle, and walk around while studying:
I am reminded of my year teaching 9th grade math. One class was taking 11th grade Algebra II: bright kids who were up to the challenge. Another class was taking 9th grade Algebra I, except that these were students who in previous decades would have been taking General Math. But as the educational fad at the time was "EVERYONE NEEDS TO TAKE ALGEBRA," they took Algebra I, albeit slimmed down. There was one kid in the class who actually understood the course material. I asked him how he got slotted into this class. He replied that he had no idea. At the beginning of the second semester he transferred to a regular Algebra I class.
I hate seeing the doors of schools closed to those who'd like to give it a shot. I despised the traditional system of excluding women, Jews, or blacks. What I don't understand is why we can't let people have a shot without pretending that students who are failing are actually succeeding, or worse, that there's really no such thing as "success." In any case, today's public schools are often not much more than unionized babysitting factories with a lot of propaganda thrown in.