The City, Autumn 2008 edition, has an article on poverty--"We Don't Need Another War on Poverty," by Steven Malanga. Mr. Malanga points out that all the money we've been throwing at schools hasn't resulted in better performance. This lack of improvement is what is spurring Congress to demand accountability from schools in some format:
[T]he U.S. has made vast investments in its public schools. According to a study by Manhattan Institute scholar Jay Greene, per-student spending on K-12 public education in the U.S. rocketed from $2,345 in the mid-1950's to $8,745 in 2002 (both figures in 2002 dollars)...Washington D.C. now spends more than $22,000 a year per student...
An Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Study found that most European countries spend between 55 percent and 70 percent of what the U.S. does per student, yet produce better educational outcomes. If urban school systems are failing children, money has nothing to do with it. (from page 37, The City, Autumn 2008)
In the same issue, there is another interesting article by Michael J. Totten on "The (Really) Moderate Muslims of Kosovo."
Also, on page 121, Theodore Dalrymple recalls the British stiff upper lip and laments its decline:
I found his self-effacement deeply moving. It was not the product of a lack of self-esteem, that psychological notion used to justify rampant egotism; nor was it the result of having been downtrodden by a tyrannical government that accorded no worth to its citizens. It was instead an existential, almost religious, modesty, an awareness that he was far from being all-important.
Looks like the West needs more of that old time British culture.