If we want children to succeed academically, we should focus on the most critical factors in a child's environment:
1. Low child poverty rates (as measured by school lunch subsidies).
2. Low divorce rates, i.e. stable homes.
3. Healthy kids (adequate access to health care).
4. Educated adult populations (which usually leads to higher income levels)
None of the above factors has anything to do with teacher salaries, education funding, testing, evaluation methods, or anything else on the teachers' union's agenda. I'm just sayin'.
Bonus: "For more than 40 years, ever since the publication of the Coleman Report, the key variable when it comes to educational achievement is parental involvement; all other factors--money, class size, choice and competition--are peripheral. Over those same forty years, parents have had to work harder to get by--two, three jobs in many cases--as good paying manufacturing jobs vanished. And, over that same period of time, the impact of crap culture--the Jersey Shore-ization of American Society--has increased exponentially." -- Joe Klein, "School Shock," Time magazine, November 9, 2010