I too am disturbed by the state of our schools. Not necessarily the curriculum, but the behavior problems teachers have to deal with before they can even teach.
I have experienced it from a different view point. I used to work in a day care program before and after school in two different school districts in the northern Illinois area. They were different as night is to day.
The furthest north school district was a much better behaved group of children because of the lifestyles/principles of the parents. The location was mostly rural 25 years before my time at the school. Now it has become more suburban-like as it is an hours ride (not during rush hour) from Chicago. They were a more family oriented, slower paced, church oriented community.
The other school district was located about 35 minutes (not rush hour) from Chicago and was mostly higher educated, career-oriented group. Higher salaries, more expensive homes, but also less time for family. A larger majority of the children did what they wanted, when they wanted, with no respect for adults at all. They were out of control. Children were pushed into extra curricular activities to eat up time until the parents got home.
There were Kindergarteners that were in our program from 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. It was so sad. There is a real need for day care of this sort but more importantly there should be a concern for what that extensive day care does to a childs life. There must be a way to change family schedules to make it so kids can be home with a family member for more than just a rushed breakfast and dinner and a shower before bedtime. I am a firm believer in no one can raise a child like its own parents. Children, especially that young, need to be a bit more mature before thrusting them into that kind of situation for the childs own sake.
The really sad thing is that I don't think it will ever get better because too many people are "thing" oriented instead of "people" oriented. I grew up in Chicago and I love any big city for a visit, but I think I will always live in a smaller people-oriented community.