This is the great divide between modern liberals and classical liberals, because, IMO, the current labels of conservative and liberal do not apply here, given the recent fondness of the GOP for large-scale federal educational initiatives. The modern liberal sees this divide as something you can throw laws and money at to change. The classical liberal realizes that most of the problem is cultural - and that just ain't a black problem, it's a big problem with white kids as well (I know, I used to be one). The youth peer culture disparages kids who try to achieve - except for Asians, where the kids do the opposite. And gee golly whiz, guess who is kicking fanny in the educational arena?
So how do you address that issue if you are a modern liberal? Well, you spend more tax dollars and mandate tests to determine ... that Asian kids are still kicking fanny.
Changing attitudes is the hardest thing for a government to do. And with the no-fault mentality of modern liberalism, it becomes impossible to even try, because you are then making a judgement on the relative merits of cultures. And that's a big no-no. Which is something the author didn't even touch upon.
It's a cultural problem. And it's a structural problem.
The cultural problem also involves the parents. The ideal circumstance is a two-parent family with one wage-earner. That used to be the default arrangement. Now, it's a single-parent family or, if its a two-parent family, the kid is still consigned to daycare or latchkey status. In either event, less than ideal.
While they can still be overcome, a high proportion of kids today are handicapped by their circumstances.
And it's structural because the Colleges of Education are spewing out ill-trained (but highly indoctrinated) teachers who can't teach. They have been trained as "facilitators" (Lord, I hate that word), but are ignorant when it comes to knowledge of the subjects they must teach. That circumstance is, doubtless, because their teachers are ignorant.
And it's structural because the never-ending quest for centralization (and race mixing in the name of "diversity") has created gigantic, unmanageable temples of chaos. These replaced (and destroyed) the comfortable neighborhood school, which so involved children, parents, teachers and an administrator in one social fabric woven of trust and familiarity.
In that respect, there's nothing wrong with public education that a few truckloads of dynamite wouldn't fix.
And, if schools returned to the neighborhoods, I wonder what impact that would have on the culture...???
Bussing was one of the Great American Mistakes in history. It changed the direction and focus, the very goal, of public education. For the worse. And, perhaps, forever. Noting that it was the unintended (and inevitable) consequence of a liberal "good deed" doesn't make it any more palatable...