I deeply feel that this is an issue that needs to be addressed by the JP. I have involved in alternative education and youth/young adult counseling for a decade now, and I have a great deal of criticism for local and national approaches to Public Education. The issues of standardized tests, funding difficulties, etc. highlight more systemic problems of an education system that focuses on short-term memorization of facts and testing strategies, instead of developing skills for living, such as basic skills of reading, writing, and fundamental mathematics; fostering natural curiosity, research, presentation of ideas, communication and debate; understand history, culture, and society as an evolving continuum of cause and effect, and one's own personal agency within one's life and environment. All of these things are fundamental in building an active, effective, informed citizenry, and have been cast by the wayside for more easily qualified categories.
Most educational professionals will admit today that our education system is painfully outdated, and based off of the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, where the priorities were to produce efficient workers in factory settings. Relatively few factory positions are left in American employment, and yet we continue to focus on strategies that fit that model. Instead of developing and diversifying our approach, we have narrowed the focus onto a gauntlet of tests, most of which are prepared for by "teaching to the test" - focusing on strategies for achieving a higher score, than actually learning new things about the world, or how to pursue one's own passions in life.
It is painfully obvious in working with young people today, that the first years of their young-adult and adulthood are frequently spent trying to adapt to a world school did not prepare them for. What can we do to better develop our upcoming citizens?