The educational system is the problem. I hear that a lot. I really don't know how to comment when I hear that because a) I don't read up on that (remember I prefer US Weekly, etc), b) the number of uber talented kids amazes me, and c) what system has it right?
Here is what I do know:
1. We seem to be a 'liberal arts' focused society. Give kids the opportunity to dabble in everything, let them see what they like, and then they can run with it.
2. Many, many kids have crappy lives. Fighting at home, drugs, substance, abuse, neglect, and any other sad situation plagues many a family nowadays. Be a teacher, or wait, be a police officer, and you will realize first hand how rampant that is.
3. My uncle taught English in China for about 5 years after he retired from teaching in MN. The practice of rote memorization for 12+ years of school doesn't appeal to me.
4. One thing that did interest me was that kids who test into the 'best' colleges in China pay the least. The kids who qualified for the 'non Ivy League' schools (just using examples) pay more. Interesting...
5. EVERY exchange student I have ever had from anywhere in the world says that schools in America are too easy. They also appreciate the fact that they will likely get a free college education. (Sorry Ryan for the socialist dig, but wouldn't it be great?) :)
6. You would be surprised how many kid8.s can't read...or do math..or who could care less.
7. Parenting starts at home. Discipline starts at home. Encouragement starts at home.
The system isn't entirely flawed. Go to a musical at MHS. Go to a speech tournament. Go to a knowledge bowl meet. Sit in on a small group class for struggling learners. Sit in on an AP class. Watch the Key Club at work. Watch the Student Council recycle each week. Watch the BPA go to state. Just take it all in.