It's hard to deny. Public education has failed, and it hasn't just failed the students. It's failed the teachers, parents, and taxpayers. As the son of a teacher and a veteran of a very poor (poor quality, not lacking in money) public school, I feel qualified to give this, but feel free to add. 1. Self Esteem: This was blow number one, when schools decided that keeping their students from feeling inferior was more important than educating them. This has led to the broken grade structure in place now which seperates children by age rather than ability. In this case, students with astounding IQs and more intelligence than some adults are forced into the same class as those who could lose Trivial Pursuit to a house plant. The teacher is also not allowed to go too fast, as failing the slow students would hurt their self-esteem, so teachers are required to go only as fast as their slowest students can keep up with, further dragging down the true prodigies. A lack of a competitive grading structure has also dragged down bright students by giving them no incentive to excel, as slacking off will give them more free time with the same grade. In some extreme cases, bright students have even been graded poorly and held back because they're so bored that they can't pay attention enough to get what they need to regurgitate to pass a test. 2. Indoctrination: This is one of the biggest crocks in education today. The values of some teachers seem to come before academia. I remember spending two perfectly good weeks of science class being told that global warming would kill us all by five years ago and a month of history learning about how the Soviets could never be defeated (ironically, the Berlin Wall started coming down two weeks after that unit ended). This not only takes parents out of some of the values teaching, but most of these things are later disproven and waste class time that could be used teaching something real. 3. A Culture of Failure: High school glorifies what later amounts to failure. Idiotic jocks who will most likely make cars for a living are treated like gods by the students, which can't be helped that much. However, things are made worse by special incentives given by the schools, including free rides on some subjects so their GPA stays high enough to play. As soon as high school is over, the pecking order is turned on its head, and some graduates can't handle it. 4. Flying Under the Radar: Most schools have clearly shown that they would rather avoid attention than fix a problem. In Columbus, Ohio, a mentally handicapped girl was RAPED in the school auditorium DURING class, and it was all on tape. The boys were not punished and the girl's dad was asked not to call the police. They're also afraid to expel people, meaning that once they've recieved a great deal of disciplinary action, the school just won't do anything else in order to avoid an expulsion. This creates schoolyard thugs who can get away with anything. When kids get beaten up, the school will typically look the other way until the parents begin throwing around words like "lawyer" and "evening news." 5. False Measurements of Success: Standards schools try to live up to are things like class size and high test scores. What is hardly ever checked is how well students improve or basically anything at all to offset the presence of poor students. The motivational speakers always say that a jelly maker doesn't get paid for crappy jelly. The response is that a teacher isn't allowed to return shipments of sour fruit. Basically, what we end up with is a system in which success is punished and failure is rewarded, leading to a generation of underwhelming kids. Studies have shown that the average elementary student could know single-variable Calculus and be fluent in three or more languages if they were just pressed to succeed. The horrible beauracracy of public schools is cheating our kids out of an education and when I have kids, I, for one, won't stand for it. Now, my mom actually has a good idea. First off, after their first year of school, all the kids should be given an achievement test and then placed with students close to their intelligence level. This teaches a wider range of social interaction and allows students to learn as fast as they can rather than as fast as the retard in the corner can. Once the student scores high enough on the test, they enter high school. They can also opt out of high school and instead go to vocational school. This would, first and foremost, give students a real chance to excel. Secondly, it would eliminate the horrible blight on our education that is known as middle school (I f-ing hated middle school and it killed my sister's motivation. She's smarter than I am, but made much poorer grades in high school. She went into middle school a genius and came out brain dead. Only admissions officers who cared got her into a college that will suit her high academic abilites, George Mason).