It's a complicated problem, with no simple answers. The reasons he gave are on target.
But I think there are pockets of improvement.
At least in my area, 30 years or so ago ''social promotion'' was common. Today, also in my area, it is not. However, what passes as a passing grade in one school system may not in another. In other words, it's easier to make an A in some schools.
In the same time period, we had a Director of Schools who said, ''No more homework.''
Some blame that on a lack of money. I realize that some schools, because of the neighborhoods in which they exist, are more able to afford more teaching aids, etc. However, I do not believe that throwing money at schools is the answer.
Though I always have supported integration, when busing came to my area 30+ years ago, it resulted in students traveling to schools far from their homes. This resulted in their parents not always being able to be involved in school affairs. Some sense of community was lost.
The best thing to come down the pike here has been the ''magnet'' schools. These are schools scattered about the county to attract kids who have various academic interests and talents. In the latest local evaluations, these schools consistently performed extremely well. (No school bus is available for these, so parents must drive them to school, or they can get a low fare on the city buses.)
Granted, in those schools discipline problems are highly unlikely as those kids came there to learn.
If there is one common factor in poor performance, it is the discipline factor , as dr pointed out.
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