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.
It seems that our leaders/politicians are just stupid. They are not. These programs are a huge success and they are accomplishing exactly what was intended. To put large amounts of money into the hands of people who will deliver a lot of votes in return for the favor.
You got it. All the "success metrics" completely miss the point, which is good government jobs and an endless circle of tax money funneled through unions and back to the people who legislate the money circuit. Education be damned.
A very few things affect student outcomes: genetics/prenatal environment, adequate sleep, physical safety. Conservatives like to think that expectations, discipline, parental involvement and a few other things should be added. Liberals believe that teacher training, class size, programs, and pep talks for the downtrodden are the key; nearly everyone thinks that extracurriculars like sports, band, theater, or student government are needed to "unify" a school or even a whole town, just like in the movies.
None of these things has been able to prove its worth. They are simply believed, because...they are believed.
Assistant Village Idiot
I assume we have all been to school, perhaps not all in public schools but universal education is a reality. I have had really good teachers and some not so good. I learned more from the really good teachers. This much is true about education and I wouldn't expect many here to disagree. I also believe that my family, most notably my mother and older brother, were instrumental in my education. My mother would indeed make me do my homework, kept in touch with my teachers and helped me with resources and time do do the work. My brother was 4 years older and a voracious reader. When I was young I went everywhere he went and mostly that meant our libraries. He would check out 7 books so I checked out 8. And, yes, I read them.
IMHO there are three major factors that create a good education and any one of these can pretty much succeed in doing it all by itself:
1. Good teachers.
2. A good school system/philosophy/curriculum
3. Parental (or family) support and if needed enforcement
I think we should try to improve all three. But I honestly believe that any child in any school could excel if his parents and older siblings are doing their part. This doesn't forgive the waste of money we see in education but it should help us understand where the "blame" should go. I do not only blame the school. For most of our youth the problem is simply the way their parents are raising their children.