.. The state of US public schools - a terrifying video for parents.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx4pN-aiofw
... It's a long video (40 mins), but well worth watching if you've got kids.
... We spend more per public school kid than nearly any other nation, and yet we absolutely suck when compared to our peers overseas.
... Misuse of money, union monopolization, irrelevance of school performance and no competition among schools ... It's a complete mess and it's screwing our kids.
This has come up before.
The BIGGEST reason why the US seems to spend so much more on education per student is that we don't separate out special education students. Many countries put them into entirely different categories, part of their social service system. Other countries don't even try to educate many of the most highly disabled or developmentally delayed. Also, few have the high percentages of youth in jail that we do. When they do, they don't bother trying to educate them.
THEN... most of those countries are not tied up in court every year fighting young earth creationists, those wanting all sex education removed from schools an the myriad of other political battles our schools must face. Part of that is the result of our diversity, but part is just sheer stupidity and a mindset that began with the 80's conservatives that the "answer" to all the protests and whatnot was to simply not build up science education, in particular to avoid most natural science education.
Add in issues of race, religion, etc and you have one system that tries to do a bit of everything for all kids. The "no child left behind" was the conservative answer... very clearly designed to turn out robots, under the theory that only those at the top really need a good education,e veryone else just needs to be drilled in the basics.