This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I have to take exception with the parents not being responsible. If there is a single point of failure in the western world, it is persistent desire to disenfranchise the individual. Your children are your responsibility, not the teachers', not the doctors', not the governments'. When it comes to your kids, the buck stops at your desk.
If my children end up ignorant, it will be my fault, not the teachers. The only way it would be possible for my children to end up ignorant is if I completely ignored them and their education.
There are few secrets that can't with hard work be unraveled.
I know I am responsible. But if the nation says I must send my kids to their school it must take responsibility for all the kids of all the parents, no matter how feckless the parents may be. And the school's responsibility is to teach those kids regardless of the ability of the parents to contribute. The parents may be non-anglophone, illiterate, just plain dumb or missing entirely, the responsibility of those paid to teach the kids is unchanged. Education has to work for all the children (I apologise for using the term kids like Ros the social worker).
And it's not too hard to teach children to read, if I and the wife can do it, a qualified teacher should have no trouble.
The people will start to think in terms of seeing 'things' as the result of money. Deliver a 'visible thing' at low cost and you can ustify the spend. The spand may be less than the tax that the people came to accept as necessary to fund 'the thing'.
Those who wish for power over others will encourage people to become dependent. When so many people's live are delivered to them and influenced by standardised factors, often through a multi-channel picture box in the corner of the room, they become willing participants.
Once they ARE willing participants it becomes easy to sell them the 'more money' theme or any other scam anyne cares to create and put energy into. The most common 'more money' scam in the UK, as practised by those in control, is to propose the more money solution, but not provide the money at the time and then announce another 'more money' solution a few month late which offers, but still oes not deliver, the same money as the previous announcement. And probably the same pot as the one before that.
Meanwhile the tax takes go up. Where the money actually goes is open to suggestions from the floor.
In the case of the UK I suspect that some of it is spent on creating non-jobs and so buying votes. The rest? No idea. Governments are very good at going around handing out money they don't have whilst taking that spend from a population that they are constantly admonishing for spending beyond their means. They have no shame.
These days I am beginning to wonder whether the typical standard of education the state can offer is really an overall benefit. The adage "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" seems to be a very pertinent thought in these times of overt propaganda used to pressgang social changes.
To react to an influence on the basis of blind faith is dangerous. To react to an influence on the basis of faith supported by the even stronger 'faith' of 'knowing' that a view must be right because 'I have learned that' may be more insidiously dangerous. The position changes from 'They told me that' - which is easy to give up if it comes to be disbelieved - to 'This is my self developed and accepted belief' which is much more difficult to give up since to do so requires the exceptional ability to admit, perhaps to many and with embarrassment, that one was wrong.
No one likes to admit that they were wrong, certainly not about a belief that they or, worse, 'society', holds to be important.
There is a school of thought (no pun intended) that suggests that better and more efficient designs of existing 'product' can often be achieved by removing things rather than adding things. Simplification for purpose. Might this also apply to education in society I wonder?
If we consider the industrial revolution for example we can see the foundations were put in place and advneced rapidly well before the wider level of education development that Adrian (I think it was Adrian) mentions in a previous post. Even much of the core infrastructure was in place - think sewage management and water supplies and the concepts that support the need for them in society today.
Then along came education for the masses and with it the constant tinkering with what exists and the apparent need to keep 'adding' little bits to what already exists rather than removing some - especially in terms of laws and controls. Designs and processes become more complex without a real reason. So they need 'more money' thrown at them, presumably to become even more complex as a result.
One might, therefore, contentiously argue that broad education for the majority is of little benefit to society overall. Maybe basic reading and numerical skills which could probably be taught sufficiently well in a year or less would be useful but that would be about all. The individuals will then decide for themselves what their interests and motivators are and whether they wish to be educated by further learning.
Early Agrarian development would seem to have benefited from good observational skills in the probable absence of written communication. This focus would have been sustained by the need to eat.
Early Industrial development was the result of the work of relatively few people, some educated and some working in the observational way. Something motivated them to learn and apply their learning and resulted in the successful development of the Industrial Age. There was enough 'skill' in the social pool to be able to apply the technologies and continue to advance even without a widely available structured education system.
These days we think in terms of a Service Economy - or at least we seem to in the UK. Apparently this economy requires different skills that require a 'degree level' education for even its humblest jobs. Hence the drive to get more and more young people into Higher Education at whatever cost (though more and more frequently the cost is their own debt rather than government funding as was the case previously.)
I am not at all convinced that this is a sustainable policy nor that it is particularly desirable for those going through the process. But only time will tell me whether I am right or rong.
Footnote: It seems nobody guessed the future importance of typing skills back in my educational years - which may explain many of the errors I am sure you will have found above.