"The problem" is that the intellectual level of the average high school or college graduate in the US is not very high by international standards, i.e. when compared with an international peer group. The solution, if there is one, will require very broad changes in all kinds of things.
I was not opposed initially to charter schools. I don't like them as a stalking horse for union busting. I hear from informed sources that Randi Weingarten has made important concessions involving her union, concessions that would be important to the "reform movement," but I don't know what the concessions are.
One of my first contacts with operative, by the way, was his citation of an article by Terry Moe about unions and educational policy that he misrepresented and probably never read. The general context was around the following intemperate little post of mine:
After a subsequent little interchange we had about Israel, I stopped reading operative. I've been hitting "View Post" a lot over the past few days. I have sugarkang filtered too, because he said he was going to filter me and I said, "Fine, no big loss to me." This was after he had written something unintelligible, and it happened to be the first time I had seen a post of his, I think.
I actually favor trying to inculcate a spirit of increased self-reliance in under-achieving kids, especially in what the French call "les quartiers defavorises," difficult neighborhoods. I'm OK with Bill Cosby and all of that, maybe not as an exclusive diet, but I don't have a problem with McWhorter or Cosby generally on that score.
I have to applaud you, stephanie, for your intelligent moderation and even-handed temperament. You're a model of Aristotelian virtue (no irony intended).