My observations on the system in the US is that for starters, we teach to take these standardized tests which measure nothing more than how well you test. So kids are learning how to take a test but not learning concepts - basic grammar, math, history for the purpose of bettering themselves and for us to develop critical thinkers. Kids are getting turned off to learning and with what I see, I can't blame them. There is also the whole "no child left behind" program which pushes kids forward when they really would benefit from being held back and repeating the grade. By the time they reach high school, they're so far behind academically that sadly, many end up dropping out. I also think that technology, video games, the internet has impacted students' ability to retain, think creatively, analyse. They have information at their fingertips and what they grow up with is video - lots of images, fast moving etc. and that's what holds their interest. Many educators (teachers) feel things need to return to the basics. All this whole language, grouping, data driven instruction etc. isn't working and I don't know why the powers that be are afraid to admit it and make changes.