I had an interesting and extremely heated argument with a few friends the other day. I like arguing with these guys, because at the end we can each just agree that the other is an asshole and then go out and have a few beers together (over which libation we generally find some other thing about which to argue).
One of them was arguing that schools are just completely screwed up these days - utterly worthless. At first I thought he was playing advocatus diaboli, or maybe just yanking our chains, but I gradually came to understand that he was serious.
There are a number of things I think have actually improved over the years. First, teaching seems to be a lot more organized than I remember. Students where I'm at get daily planners and the planners are checked. Second, and probably more important, I think school, etc. are coming to realize the importance of parents in kids' educations. (I've always thought the debate over homeschooling was silly, really. The question isn't whether good parents homeschool, but only whether they do it full time. Of course, all good parents homeschool in the general sense - the important sense.) Thirdly, and this is a big one for me, I think the awareness of and handling of bullying is improving. (In fact, everyone else present - all over 6" tall - didn't think this was an important thing at all.)
I'm ambivalent over technology. I think it's a great thing, but that there are other things more important. Further, I have reservations about technology when its place in the curriculum hasn't been well-established. Also ambivalent over testing. I'm actually in favor of standardized testing - but I think the number of tests taken is ridiculous- one a year should be plenty.
Ah, boogers. I've gotta go. Haven't even gotten to the meaty part yet.