Stupid in America
Stupid in America is a nasty title for a program about public education, but some nasty things are going on in America’s public schools and it’s about time we face up to it. Kids at New York’s Abraham Lincoln High School told me their teachers are so dull students fall asleep in class. One student said, "You see kids all the time walking in the school smoking weed, you know. It’s a normal thing here."
We tried to bring “20/20? cameras into New York City schools to see for ourselves and show you what’s going on in the schools, but officials wouldn’t allow it. Washington, D.C., officials steered us to the best classrooms in their district. We wanted to tape typical classrooms but were turned down in state after state.
Finally, school officials in Washington, D.C., allowed “20/20? to give cameras to a few students who were handpicked at two schools they’d handpicked. One was Woodrow Wilson High. Newsweek says it’s one of the best schools in America. Yet what the students taped didn’t inspire confidence.
One teacher didn’t have control over the kids. Another “20/20? student cameraman videotaped a boy dancing wildly with his shirt off, in front of his teacher. Watch this free online documentary and make up your own mind…is the American school system producing stupid citizens?
This video is rather old as Florida is now different in the Voucher scene.
I have developed an educational system that I’ve loosely titled My Ideal K-12 Public School Curriculum. It is IMO the only thing that separates the Commonweal from our real freedoms, those that come from individuals able to think actively for themselves. Here’s what I propose, in brief:
There should be three pillars of the curriculum. I call them a troika, but you’re welcome to use whatever word you wish so long as it fits. The pillars, the teaching of which which must be instituted as early as possible in the education of every sentient human, are: (1) Philosophy, (2) Critical Thinking, and (3) the Art and Science of Formulating Effective Questions. The second and third pillars are actually subsumed under the first: Philosophy gives everyone the ability to participate in democracy.
When I say ”philosophy,” I don’t mean reading obscure texts and then being tested on what you’ve read. No, I mean the actual DOING of philosophy by implementing a version of the Socratic method. Children as young as can be are so engaged whenever they ask ”Why?” Unfortunately (both for them and for society in general), their first teachers — in most cases, their parents — are ill-equipped to accommodate them, to sit down with them and engage in the exercise of curiosity.
Instead, parents shove distractions at them — like television and video games — in order to avoid thinking with them. Or they use this time-honored answer, ”Because I said so,” or even worse, the abbreviated ”Because.” There is no better way to stifle curiosity; those methods teach that curiosity is unwelcome, sometimes punished, sometimes simply avoided or ignored altogether.
I’d like you to listen to this 62-minute interview by Drs. Eric Thomas Weber and Anthony Cashio of Philosophy Bakes Bread with Dr. Jana Mohr Lone, Director of the University of Washington Center of Philosophy for Children: You may be amazed; you will certainly be engaged.
Discussions about the ideas about which children are already curious, as well as those that introduce new concepts for them to contemplate — all facilitated by instructors trained in the art of discourse — teach even the youngest minds how to think critically, pose relevant questions, obey social rules of politeness and respect, stimulate even the shyest or most insecure personalities to participate (if not actively, through vocalizing, then introspectively, through silent contemplation) and encourage the curiosity with which we’re all born.
I submit that active critical thinkers will be eager students rather than reluctant, often hostile ones. They will pepper their teachers with piercing questions and participate eagerly in the process of learning. They will develop into active readers and writers. School, for such individuals, will be FUN!
But will their teachers be up to the task of fielding incessant questions? K-12 schoolteachers, typically the growing child’s second instructors after their parents, are underpaid, underfunded, and undereducated. They prefer silent classrooms in order that they can follow required lesson plans that ”teach to the test,” then administer tests that require no more than rote memorization followed by dutiful regurgitation, often in the form of fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice interrogation. Essay questions are reluctantly offered and just as reluctantly ”tackled” by students whose curiosity and love of learning has been trained out of them. And, of couse, essays take so much more time to grade, time being just one of the many essentials that these teachers lack.
I’ve only just touched the surface of my troika defense. I’ll sum it up by saying that school, and its attendant requirements, should be the most fun that a child can have, as well as being the most rewarding, invigorating experience any educator can engage in.
This curriculum will inject truly educated minds, prepared to reason, contemplate, and participate in democracy into our Commonweal. I can find no errors in my reasoning. If you can find errors, I beg you to engage with me. I love being wrong, for how else can I learn? That was Socrates’s belief and the main reason he sought out experts to learn from.
From outside the US, an opinion.
(Not quite) everything I see from US television seems to me to be made for those with a mental age in single figures. With grossly restricted vocabulary and a stress for the cost of everything to be regularly included, as in when there's a hurricane or tornado the damage is seldom rated in any terms other than that of $$$...
With vocabulary used including such streetsmart-teen terms as "cool" and "insanely" as modifiers, is it any wonder that linguistic levels of everyday-use American English is, to U.K. ears, banal beyond tolerance?
It's like being projected into a noisy classroom of low-forehead entitled chimps with IQs in midrange double figures. I'm only a modestly educated Brit whose education certainly didn't resemble how education is portrayed on US television, and the impression gained fromUS TV shows seen here is that you're a country of dim and microcephalic infants whose thought processes are so restricted that I suspect that conversation with such might feel like "trying to nail jelly to the ceiling".... It'd take a massively conscious effort to think down to the subterranean levels they appear to inhabit.
And as for American "documentaries" - those are so low level that I could write far more high level scripts myself with even my basic U.K. education.
I'd imagine that private American schools will have standards rivalling ours, with students receiving high level training in critical thinking just as I received in my standard state school here. Or possibly higher?
But the VAST majority of American youngsters will never see such schooling.
And it is showing, every time the man in the american street is interviewed about - anything. He can typically struggle to string more than half a dozen meaningful words together before having to stop to regroup his "thoughts".
Watching such is somewhat like having a window into the life of another and slightly inferior species... Whose general knowledge could certainly be surpassed by any average ten year old here.
It's become an accepted part of general awareness that Americans are as a rule loud, ignorant and commonly arrogant beyond bearing.
For that, you can blame your exported TV output and your tourists, which latter are invariably heard *long* before they're seen... Which can generally be taken as a portrayal of approximate accuracy. Otherwise, being advertising-driven, it'd fail spectacularly.
To summarize. As long as you show yourselves to be ignorant, undereducated and measurelessly dim, you'll get scant respect from us.
After all, you elected The World's Stupidest and Most Arrogant Fool to be POTUS. The man with those nuclear codes. He actually had access to those. Trump. It'll take decades of massive remedial effort to repair the hyper-damage you did to your own international standing by his election. And then failing spectacularly to nail him for his crimes. In any other country, unbelievable. But in the USA, standard stuff.
It is tragic. We're witnessing the accelerating downfall of what promised to be, in the early 20th century, the hope of a better world to come. The rot started, or at any rate became visible to all the world, at Dealey Plaza - in 1963.
And that rot is an increasingly-accelerating process, with another truly massive boost happening in what became standardised as 9/11.
Just as the Soviet Union fell apart from failing to learn from its mistakes, so - it seems - is the USA blindly careering towards its own horrific downfall. And after that, the Western world will enter a period of open-season for the extremist opportunists from the East. Which I'll be glad not to see. Being old, one can say what one likes and doesn't need to feel any need to please anyone. I'm old enough to care only for the truth, but I wholeheartedly wish that the truth were otherwise.
People say the system has failed, while the elites consider it a resounding success, as it has produced the infantile, consumer drones, "their ideal citizen". Obedient, submissive, incapable of challenging power and who have no clue on what basis to do it.
Like climate change and everything else, we were forewarned that this was coming and did nothing
The problem is white people are good at blame shifting and are full of BS
Yes, American schools have failed completely. They failed me 60yrs ago. Most teachers go from student to teacher without ever having another job. They have NO life experience. They have been taught by people afraid to leave school and get a job. The requirements to be a teacher should include 10 years of living and working a normal job before teaching. The facts speak loudly. That Trump is president, says it all. AMERICA IS THE HOME OF IDIOTS AND FOOLS.
This documentary makes too many generalizations and some of the "facts" are blatantly false. I agree schools have issues, bad teachers and greedy, ignorant administrators do exist, but so do highly professional, creative educators. It's never one size fits all, even in public schools.
The American educational system has always been broken. It's just that now it's gotten so broken that even stupid people can see it.
Just accept, that most of american people just are stupid, and live on. You can't change your self because most american people just are stupid. Just Live with that.
John Taylor Gatto explains the truth in his books Dumbing Us Down, Weapons of Mass Instruction, and History of Education. Schools are made to control the masses into being manageable consumers addicted to entertainment and fantasies. Tests don't prove ****. The literacy rates and Math literacy rates in America is HORRIBLE for a reason...to make citizens with 0 critical and creative abilities! Why? College debt ring a bell?...You guys cry about too many hood rappers or stupid rappers like Riff Raff when those same artists are more paid and creative than most people give them credit for.
As an American myself, I can say American education sucks. What really irritates me is how the rest of the world teaches foreign language in primary school, but in the US they teach it in middle and high school. Why? It's been proven that younger children learn languages faster and easier, but somehow that isn't enough to change the system. I've had six years of French language classes and I'm still not able to properly understand or speak it. I have a feeling that if I had been taught French when I was young instead of when I was 14, things might have been a little different. Now it seems like those years have been a big waste of my time.
And Common Core can go f*ck itself, what a load of bull.
I didn't know that those kind of documentaries existed, the kind which reconsiders things we generally take for granted, a sociological study on real issues in some parts of our society and those should be taken into account to reshape the world for the best.
I love John Stossel because he comes with the facts. I've been watching him since the '80's. When I was searching to buy this 20/20 special I came across a "Media Matters" review of this documentary. They slammed it as "skewed" and "misleading". I wouldn't trust anything from that source because they couldn't have watched the same documentary I watched. I see them as having the bias. You rock Stossel, keep it up.
No informed and educated person will be surprised at the findings of this documentary. Mr. Stossel might have gotten to the 'root of the problem' by testing American teacher's skills AND knowledge against their European & Asian counterparts.
Those results might prove shocking to many, and answer the essence of Stossel's enquiry!
Ortega y Gassett saw all this ignorance unfolding, ('REVOLT OF THE MASSES', c.1945) , over six decades ago. Since that time we have seen the universities' relentless evolution into profit making enterprises, with big budgets and fat salaries to athletic departments, heads, coaches, and useless, nominal professors.
Decades of dedication to glorifying sports at the expense of learning , has also reared the ideologues of the materialistic and martial society we have become.
The entire American educational apparatus should each, carve Dante's admonition over their entrances: "Abandon hope all ye who enter here".
funny, and... educational.
Huh......... now I'm kind of REALLY glad I was homeschooled. Even though I started in 6th grade, it made all the difference.
school is less about knowledge and more about
control, training people to be a specific way and aspire to specific
things, pecking orders regarding intelligence, social power for example
are learnt in school, imo mainly to divide people into controllable
Try teaching a classroom of gr. 7 or 8's with 40 kids in them. Hormones are raging; it's like teaching in a can of sardines. Part of the answer is the culture of respect, pupil-teacher ratio, educational assistants for the slower kids. Pay is only part of it. Teach teachers how to teach and make sure their subject expertise is used. Don't ask a teacher to teach evolution if that teacher is a die-hard creationist. Specialization is the best approach. Learning should be fun for elementary school, but let's face it, is your job going to be fun all the time? You're there to learn not always have fun. Parent divorce rates screw kids up. When parents are working 8 to 10 hrs. a day, they don't have much time to spend with their kids, so the onus is on the teachers to raise a lot of these kids. I hate to say it, but, private schools get to pick and choose students because it's run like a business. Sad state of affairs, but that's reality!
Its sad but I think this may be a major part(outside of American foreign policy) of what makes Americans rather disrespected on an international basis. I think that there is a general perception that Americans only know about themselves and very little about the rest of the world. I'm Canadian, and while I personally have never been to Europe I know many that have and when people learn that you are Canadian as opposed to American you are treated very well. Again, I really believe its the US governments history that most find repulsive. I just don't think people like a braggart and the US seems to think its the best whereas most nations are much more humble.
The system is similar in Canada from what I have heard. One of my psychology professors was in teacher's college, and she was saying that one of her colleagues was happy that the troublemaker with ADHD was suspended for a week because someone from the school board was coming to grade her. It's a disgrace that teachers have to worry about their jobs when sometimes they just don't have the resources to attend to everyone in the classroom.
This is just a disgrace.Thank god i don't live in America.
Nakor420 is correct in every way of his/her comment. Thank you for posting that.
With that being said, this reporter is a hack. The true reason why the United States has such low scores is the fact that the United States education system counts the scores of VERY student. Whereas, in other countries such as Japan, Russia, some countries in the continent of Africa (just to name a few) only count the scores of their brightest students or students within the general education classes. The United States isn't as bias or discriminate.
This reporter hasn't done any through research on the matter and is the stereotypical, same ol' story of spreading hate and shame on the United States. He forgets that the best country to be in if you have any type of disability is the United States. Some parents from other countries come to the United States when their child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or has a Specific Learning Disability because they know that the best programs for those disorders and disability is in the United States. The US has the best ESE (Exceptional Student Education) program in the world. I can tell you from personal experience that if I were born in Cuba, I wouldn't have moved forward at all because they don't have such programs for people with disabilities. It's truly a sink or swim situation in that country and Cuba isn't alone in this mentality. Lots of countries throughout the world believe in this method. So to those who are insulting the education system of the U.S., please do some research...REAL deep research and not a hack job one like this idiot reporter has done.
Another thing. I work within the education system and I can tell you that the scenes this reporter is showing are only the extreme, exceptional cases. Not all students behave or act in the matter as shown in this video. That also goes for teachers. Unfortunately, the media LOVES to over-exaggerate a story to gain viewers and rantings, so they'll always show the extreme cases, which are at times extremely rare. There are excellent and wonderful teachers and students. Sure there are a few (pardon the phrase) bad apples and unfortunately it's the bad apples that gets all the attention. After all, no one wants to hear good news about student success and inspirational teachers. It's the bad news that gets the highest rantings, thus more money. Don't get me wrong. There are students who just don't care, but that's only two or three students out of a classroom of 30 - 40 students. And yes... there are bad teachers too whom I sometimes ask myself where the hell they went to get their degrees at or at least know where they got their nasty, bully-like personalities from, but like the students there are only a small number of teachers who are bad.
Finally I want to add that the creators of this documentary are idiots. The title is very misleading. It should have said, "Stupid in the U.S." He and many other people forget that Canada, Central and South America are also Americans, because Geography and World History point out that Central, North and South America are known as the Americas. I think the reporter needs to check upon his own education before acting all high and mighty. He shouldn't be going about insulting any nation, especially when he himself is an idiot for not having basic History and Geography knowledge. >_>
A large portion of the problem is that it's popular to be stupid. Kids think it's cool to be ignorant, and they have no respect for their teachers. Of course this stems from bad parenting in many cases, but popular culture is MORE to blame. Rap music makes kids think it's "cool" to be a gun toting drug selling ebonics talking thug. If a rap "artist" spoke in proper english, do you think they would sell records? No, they would go under because that's not what's cool. There are exceptions of course, but most kids in public school don't want to LEARN, they just can't wait for school to be out. Look at the footage in the school hallways, you can see the punks with their pants hanging around their ass and all that bs. Those kids aren't there to learn.
John Stossel? Talk about stupid.
America wants a military next to none, and she has it.
America wants a system of 'education' providing year after year young men with no prospects to volunteer as cannon fodder, and she has it.
Shame on us!
I am a homeschooling mother of 5 and to be quite frank I was quiet disheartened with the public education my 2 children received several years ago (yes, my school is an A plus school whatever that means!). I decided to homeschool and my children are doing exceptionally well and I don't have the concerns of bullying, school shootings, drugs, peer pressure. I myself attended public school for 2 years and I can attest that it was horrific! The things that went on..............
wow. this docu is really misleading.
#1 california spends 50K a year on each incarcerated prisoner and this docu thinks that we shouldn't spend more than 10K teaching a student? maybe that's why they become prisoners!!
#2 it doesn't take into account parenting - the mother should have been helping her son learn to read. the private program was doing HER JOB, that's why he learned and that's why she liked it... it takes the job out of her hands and she can pass the buck.
#3 parenting should also start to teach kids how to learn and what behavior is acceptable while in school. schools are NOT daycare and teachers are NOT parents. you can't expect teachers to discipline your children when you won't.
#4 if you don't want the responsibly of disciplining children and actually parenting them, the by all means, use your reproductive freedoms and don't have kids!!! but if you do don't shove them off on the school system.
i watched 15 minutes of this one and had to shut it off, watching it after the 'how the kids took over' docu, and the same issue still stands - parents need to be parents. if not, feel free not to reproduce.
@Romulus, "Want a simple solution that I personally guarantee will work? Sterilize everyone in the bottom decile of the IQ distribution. Start today and in 20 years or so, America will be an infinitely better place to live."
That's called Eugenics, and it was the basis for the Holocaust. They were actually sterilizing people into the 1970's, in America, due to this movement. There are still lots of low IQ people here, so maybe, that's not the best solution. haha!
I hate the part where the one guy comes to your house to check if you live there and not live outside the district...there are people living in different towns that still are about to attend my school
Then again...I live in Canada, so everything might be different
One of the guys I car pooled to Central High was in the machine shop program. I recently found out that he is in prison for life, for attempted murder in the Chillicothe Correctional Institution in Ohio. He built a bomb and put it under his ex-wife's car and blew her and her boyfriend up. Apparently the machine shop skills were put to good use.
I took auto shop at one high school for two years and did the other work at my local school that had no vocational programs. This was in 1971-1973
One day I took my friends Mustang in because a crankshaft bearing was defective. A kid in class who owned a Mustang took the starter from my friends Mustang (which I had removed) and put it on his car. He also stole Willy Wonka Peanut Butter Scrunch bars from a local store he broke into at night and sold them out of his locker. He knocked the air out of me one day after I took to long to give him his 5 cents.
Our teacher was shot and killed at school the next year. Eventually they closed Central High School in Columbus, Ohio and a movie called Teachers was made there.
Years later I briefly dated a woman who had her jaw broken trying to break up a fight between 8th graders.
A child's success in school begins and ends at home. My parents were at my schools checking on my progress every chance they got, forced me to read in front of them daily and I had to show them my homework each night when completed. One day when I came home and said I didn't have any homework my mother was at school the very next day pitching a bitch. My teachers knew that if they didn't instruct me there was going to be hell to pay. I doubt if many parents go to such lengths today.
I am glad to be homeschooled
All you people that deny there's a problem need to look at who started the public school system and why. They did it for a reason, to keep people Dumb. Even in Canada where I'm from school is a terrible place to put a child, there's often no choice here either.
I totally agree with you, the war on drugs is a lot like the prohibition.
the moral here is:
when you demonize something and mention how horrible it is constantly, then people will (naturally) be attracted to it
Many people have been arrested and will have a permanent scar on their criminal record, just because that decided to smoke marijuana.
The dumbing down of people is intentional, you can't control masses of well educated people. The war on drugs makes the problem worse and that's why the drug trade is encouraged by making a market for criminals to exploit. If drugs were legal to buy the criminal element would have no power and money related to drugs but our schools hammer the Idea that laws will help somehow. If everyone knew what America is doing to itself and world there'd be a revolution but instead there's just a bunch of dumbasses selling drugs to get ahead and that brings violence. Don't believe me? Look at how much better Portugal is doing since they decriminalized drugs, they have less violence, AIDS, Overdoses in only 5 years all the negative consequences of drugs have been reduced. Look at Holland, they have far less Pot users yet you can go to a Bar and smoke it without getting arrested.
Listen, to what john stosal says at the end "We hope it starts a debate" and it has who's to blame? YOU
I went to Detroit Public Schools and although the teachers and resources were not as good as those offered in other richer cities in Michigan, any student who wants to learn could definitely do so, a pool or fancy learning equipment are not necessary for learning. All you need is a teacher, a classroom, some books and simple school supplies, and students willing to learn. This documentary seems to do a good job blaming everyone, except the students themselves. My peers in high-school were very disrespectful to their teachers, many barely did their homework, and saw school as a place to socialize not as an institution to learn. I focused on my studies and went on to attend a very prestigious university, irregardless of going to one of the worst high- schools in America. I'm not special or especially hard-working, its simply because these kids in these poor neighborhoods do not care about their education (I lived in one all my child-teenage years). Maybe one could argue that schools could do a little more to make the students feel passionate about their education, I believe this is a task more suited for parents. But perhaps schools should do more with respect to security and safety. In my high-school it was not uncommon for students to go to the hospital due to the injuries they sustained from fighting and the administrators weren't doing a good job preventing bullying.
fluoride in the water supplies .. mercury in the fillings ... wood alcohol in aspartame .. just to name a few ways Uncle Sam and Corporate fascism has been dumbing us down .. add to this bad influence from mass media and entertainment sources owned by the same evil entities .. voila
12:43....a cop in the background?
blame the parents. why can't they spend 5 minutes a day teaching their own kids how to read?
This is why my mother homeschooled me.
I have a friend in public school, She is 2 years older then me and it is almost painful to be around her when she has to read something, I am 12-years-old
Public schools are pathetic
@ Mandaz Really? Like most ignorant Americans you expect a one problem/one solution situation... really? Tenure is the problem??? That is by far the least problem in public education, how about funding, budget cuts, cuts in music, art, and physical education, standardized testing, the crazy amount of money that one disabled kid costs the school, the lack of exceptions from parents on their children, student-teacher ratios, etc. are far more likely to negatively impact learning... perhaps you need to spend a day in a classroom before you start popping off and blaming the overburdened underpaid teacher!
We are doomed...it is not the teachers cheating their students, it is the parents inability to parent, turn off the fu*king xbox, take the phone, instill discipline in their child(ren) ... Sorry but I work with variety of schools, it is clearly a parent-child issue... parents don't want to accept responsibility and they are creating kids who are unprepared for school muchless life!
We are doomed...it is not the teachers cheating their students, it is the parents inability to parent, turn off the f@#$%^& xbox, take the phone, instill discipline in their child(ren) ... Sorry but I work with variety of schools, it is clearly a parent-child issue... parents don't want to accept responsibility and they are creating kids who are unprepared for school muchless life!
This whole doc is highly suspect. A lot of it seems very driven by sensationalism and captialist propaganda- not that there's anything wrong with capitalism, but it appears to be at the expense of rational discourse. It's raising important issues, but its biases are preventing it from coming across reasonable.
I'm definitely a believer in the free market. I believe that competition does inherently make systems more efficient at whatever it is they do, be it manufacturing a product, providing a service, or serving a social function. As such I'm a strong supporter of the voucher system, where education tax dollars are divided up equally between students and then the family gets to decide which school they take their kids to. Eventually the absolutely terrible ones will go out of business. And even if the worst, most entrenched teachers' unions and administrators aren't banned outright, they will eventually drive their failing schools into the ground.
Even though I do believe in free markets, I also believe that education is a service that everyone should have equal access to, therefore the state will always have a role to play. I AM NOT in favor of completely privatizing our education system. The state should still continue to operate public schools. Obviously the state will still collect the taxes and distribute the vouchers to everyone.
I don't think that teachers' unions should be dismantled entirely, but to pretend that the unions in their current form are not destructive to our education system is ridiculous. As it stands, a teachers' union's job is to protect teachers' employee interests from admittedly incompetent administrators. But ultimately teachers are employees of the state and are there to serve the community. Unions will universally favor seniority over merit and they will seek to work against the removal of all teachers, including the incompetent ones. These qualities are part of the problem, not the solution.
I do recognize that today's teacher unions exist as a defense against school administrators, who are just as broken as the unions. But to counter failing, counterproductive, entrenched administration with failing, counterproductive, entrenched unions leaves the students as odd-man-out and getting the worst of both worlds. I would guess that across the board at least 10% (if not much more) of all non-teacher school employees can be fired outright and the saved budget money can be used to improve teacher pay (with the raises based solely on merit). The most important thing IMO is that school administrators need to have serious, honest external oversight. I would also suggest that administrators are only hired for X (say 2 or so) years at a time and they need to justify the continuation of their employment to these government overseers (and the taxpayers) on a regular basis. If parents are taking their vouchers elsewhere, failing administrators will be automatically filtered out of the system.
Just a few thoughts, hopefully I came across as a bit more balanced to the more left-wing readers than Stossel. I agree in general terms with his assessment, but I do recognize that full privatization is not the answer and that an education should be available to everyone, not just the plutocracy. I just want to make sure our society is able to provide a GOOD education to everyone.
@ w.g. We do not have a "free-market system"
Its called soft-fascism or where Corporations dictate government policy like corporate-welfare, corporate personhood rights etc. Check out the docu. The Corporation and you will see how businesses like Enron exist. It is quite illuminating.
The main problem with education is one word, TENURE! Can anyone think of any other job in America where you can recieve job security after working somewhere for a certain amount of time? I believe when tenure is earned it makes teachers unmotivated and feeling the need not to work as hard. Why should they? They never have to worry about losing their job.
America has a lot of problems but the education is the biggest , put a kid from america and a kid from poor countries to make a ecuation . I bet on the poor kid , this is because he wants to make it to have a good life , and the other already has it .
Maybe the education from parents is the problem.