^ I still contend that while your perceptions aren't without validity, they are regional in nature. My issue with this is that people want to treat localized pain with a general, Federally administered anesthetic. That's a poor approach, because it's very expensive, and it doesn't fix anything.
The states should be responsible for fixing these issues. If people care enough to have ignorant opinions about how much teachers are paid or how long they work, they can pay attention to the goings-on of the Boards of Education and make sure they don't turn into assholes when it's time to take care of their schools.
It's not regional, and it is not just a local problem that does not affect everyone. While we want to focus our attention on providing education FOR THE CHILDREN, we, as a country have to also look at those same children as a resource for our future. If some states are providing excellent education that is as it should be and will provide those children with a leg up in the future BUT they are not able to carry the weight of this entire country if other states are not willing or able to have similar resources focused from the local level.
Our manufacturing base and IT base and professional base has to draw from the entire population of graduates and if they are to be the workers that drive this country to compete within a global market ALL the children have to have an accelerated, topnotch education, not just counties or states that are fortunate enough to have a tax base that can afford to pay it. This country will depend, as we move further into a global economy on the cooperation of everyone to make sure that workers are competitive with those from India, China, Japan, Brazil and other countries that, right now are ripping us a new one with their progressive education systems.
Check with your worldwide peers and ask how many kids in India under 12 are FLUENTLY multilingual, same in China, same in Japan, Russia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Mexico. Now poll your American peers.
At Thanksgiving dinner in 2006 we had 36 people here. We invited many of the contractors who were stuck in town, not knowing anyone or the customs. We had Chinese, Indian, Italian, German, Mexican and of course American. My two nephews and niece, sis-law [MD], her husband [MD] and I were the only ones that spoke only English. While I know bits and pieces of five languages, I am fluent in none. Everyone else in the room spoke English, including the young kids.
We have to compete with that. We cannot afford to have 2200 local school boards, 50 State Boards of Education, 25 Christian Education Councils, The Catholic Church and Home School helicopter parents all making disparate decisions on this serious of a national resource.