Declining standards in the US----I totally agree. We seem to put all the emphasis on the really gifted child, the unruly and hard-to-control child and the severely disabled child. Those many average or nearly average children are totally lost unless their parents can afford some help in tutoring or they are willing to help their kids. Too many teachers are doing the job because they like the summers off and too many teachers are also burned out because they have to do two jobs--day teaching and evening sports coaching. Both the classroom and the sports are suffering unless the person has no other life beyond school. Parents feel that teachers should teach children morals, discipline, respect, economics, recycling, and kindness----when is there even time to teach the basics-reading, writing, spelling, math and science? And this volunteer bit in the schools----perhaps it would help to pay us volunteers 2.00 or 3.00 per hour up to a set amount of hours per day, unless the person wishes not to be paid. I also think that every classroom should have a teacher's aid at all times, not just for the special needs---and if their are special needs kids--then an additional teacher's aid would also be needed. Our German exchange students know 4 times as much at 17 than our brightest students of the same age-----why???? And this is attending an American school in English---if they could read and listen to the lessons in German, they would get even higher grades!!!!! Soooo sad!!!!!