I am not an expert by any means, but I just got through a troubling tutoring session and I feel the need to post this while the subject is fresh in my mind.
Just to be clear, the troubling part was mostly not the student (my 4th grade cousin), but rather his academic (and thus mental, and physical) suffering due to a public education and popular culture that has failed him.
I have three (3) observations in the matter:
1) His education being public is at the whim of politics, so I cannot quite hold the public educators themselves responsible for this debacle. I have long heard the phrase "No Child Left Behind" has turned into "Every Child Left Behind" and I am beginning to think they are correct in saying that.
It has become clearer and clearer to me that his teachers aren't teaching him what he needs to know (and more particularly aren't giving proper explainations). I am making a broad generalization here assuming that his experience is commonplace and widespread. I may be wrong about that.
2) Low standards are the rule of the game, sad to say. When I was in college (yes, college) my half-baked efforts on some assignments still garnered an "A" grade, even while I myself knew I deserved a "C". Except for certain "hard" classes, where I felt I was more honestly tested. I actually had to work for a good grade.
In high school, I had the same experience.
Now this was at a public university. My above observations have been true in my experience in all public schools, but are quite possibly not universally true.
Part of this is due to popular culture, partly due to political correctness. Which is also popular culture, in a fashion.
But I think it is a tragedy, simply put.
3) Popular culture (in America, at least) has convinced children that learning stops when the school bell sounds. This is one area that I feel qualified to speak in. A precious minority of children (and their families) do not beleive that particular lie, and populate extracurricular academics.
Academic obesity, if you will.
I'm not sure that a child's laziness is really a culprit.
This is an even worse tragedy, as I see it.