Im appreciating Wrens post here - low standards and lack of parental demand for rigor being the problem, reinforced by a lack of advanced STEM teaching credentials. Thats been my observation. And the PISA scores dont lie.

I actually flirted with launching a private gifted magnet, but there was a lack of traction among parents and a lack of interest in radical acceleration. It became clear what the gap was - parents have a public list of school requirements that they speak about, and an actual list. The parents, by and large, are happy striving for their children, as long as someone else does the heavy lifting.

As long as they feel they have offered more by relative standards than the public system, they feel that box is checked, irrespective of whether their children are actually getting a better education. Its much like people who claim they want to get in shape, but never lift a finger, or fizzle out after a week: the difference between aspiration and action.

Achievement requires rigor and discipline - in any field.

What is to give light must endure burning.