School System in the US: Waiting for Superman

Today I watched a documentary called Waiting for Superman. This documentary describes all the flaws in the US school system. A very good food for though.

The important conclusion of this documentary is that people believe that kids from bad neighborhood are less likely to succeed in schools due to their background, while it is not the case. And this documentary provided various examples that it is wrong. As a matter of fact the correlation is the opposite: bad schools [drop-out factories where over 40% of students don’t graduate on time] contribute to the creation of bad neighborhoods.

Dr. Robert Balfanz at John Hopkins University: “There is a pattern in cities, suburbs and rural areas, failing elementary and middle schools feeding poorly educated students into local high schools, where they last one or two years.” in his research he found over 2000 dropout factories.

For generations experts tended to blame failing schools on failing neighborhoods. But reformers have begun to believe the opposite; the problems of failing neighborhoods might be blamed on failing schools.

68 percent of inmates in Pennsylvania are high school dropouts. The state spends $33,000 a year on each prisoner … which makes the total cost of the average prison term $1 32,000. The average private school cost $8,300 a year. So for the same amount we could have sent a prison inmate into a private school from kindergarden through 12th grade, and still have over $24,000 left for college.

I am not very familiar with the current Russian school system. When I was a student I was privileged to go to a gymnasium. But I always had a feeling that our school system was not really bad back in the day. Right now my niece goes to a school in Russia and her school stories sound shocking for me. She’s been to a private school where all the kids are crazy about D&G, BMW and such; she also went to a public school where kids are sexually curious at the age of 10 and send each other porn videos via MMS. It seems to me that there is no balance in Russian schools either.

I might be wrong. Does anyone have a different opinion on school systems in Russia / USA?