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Great story about why our students are failing at science and math, from Slate. The most telling pull quote:
When American students struggle, teachers and parents attribute this failure to low aptitude. When students in many top-ranked nations, like Japan, don’t perform well, teachers and parents conclude that they have not worked hard enough.
Simplified, when kids fail we assume they're dumb whereas in Japan the teachers and parents are more invested in the results. While I will not make a broad generalization about the American education system, because I had many teachers who worked with me to help me understand difficult concepts, I will say that this is the perception most people have of districts like MPS where nobody involved--from parents to students to teachers--seems particularly interested in the students succeeding but instead are merely marking time until the problem children are passed off to someone else.
While this, too, is not universal it's unfortunate that it is even a consideration.