Back when I was in college about 10 years ago I once stumbled across a study that indicated that despite all our computers, technology, etc., children from Barbados blew away most Americans in standardized tests. The difference? Culture. Apparently Barbadian parents got more involved in their kids’ education than most American parents did at the time.
Fast forward a decade, and apparently not much has changed. :-\
On top of what The Young Turks folks are saying here, I think there’s something else going on too. Yes it’s true that some irresponsible parents use public schools as a state-funded babysitter and don’t really care whether their kids do well or not, but there’s also a psychological undercurrent in society that tosses around the idea that parents can’t actually raise their kids. There’s an idea floating around that parents have to negotiate with their kids, reason with them, etc., instead of using any form of headship or parental authority which of course deprives children of experience growing up of having someone in charge over them which then could cause trouble when they get out on their own, etc.
Point being, the government can’t do everything here. In this case in Florida and in some cases I’ve seen in Connecticut government goes so far before throwing their hands up in the air at parents not caring until it’s too late and then lowers their standards. Not a good thing of course, but c’est la vie when people just don’t give a darn. :-\