At one point in history, the U.S. was among the beacons of education in this world, but now, the distance it has fallen can actually hurt to look at. Nobody wants to see a statistic say that something their country once excelled at, is being passed up by everyone else. What would cause this depressing situation? What puts our country among the highest for drop-out rates?
The biggest problem has got to be the media; all the crap that kids are watching/listening to has a major impact, and is responsible for the kids' attitudes. I won't single any group out, but how many "musicians" are there that cannot write a single "song" without "Fuck this, fuck that, bitch bitch bitch"? These attitudes are being imprinted on the kids, they take it to school, and instead of going to learn, they go to participate in popularity contests or to make a reputation. These are the same punks who sleep in class, or sit in the back disrupting the lesson, then talk back to the teacher when they try to make them stop.
But there is even more damage the media can do. When it's not influencing these brats to drop-out because they believe the fantasy that they can make it as the next big thing, they are glamourizing the whole gang-banger thing, making the already impressionable kids think they can make it on their "street-cred" alone. Don't you think if you're going to live off the streets in some gang, you should at least learn the metric system?
You can even go so far as to blame the sex scandals on the media. Every time you turn on something like MTV showing some skank wearing practically nothing, it won't take long before some other skank will think it's appropriate to wear at school. There would be a lot less pedophiles in the world if kids weren't dressing like complete whores! But that in no way excuses the teachers, you would think that someone smart enough to earn a teaching degree would know better than sleeping with these sluts.
As with all problems, you can't put the blame on any one person/group, and I think that Bill Cosbey nailed it on the head. Parents aren't doing a damn thing to encourage/push their kids. If you're not going to get involved in your kid's life, you fail to notice when your kid is failing because of their attitudes, or dropped out to join a gang. A parent's advice can make ALL the difference to some kids.