I have been uneducated most of my life, at least by the formal standards of the education system. I had more of an education than my dad did (he did not finish Junior High), but not by much. I became a High School dropout, being short one class, and deciding to leave town rather than do summer school (not that I would have passed the class--Freshman Composition on the third pass--my home life was pretty bad).
Because of this I ended up working for twenty years in food service, along with the occasional side job that required a warm body and no piece of paper. The fact that I did not have a piece of paper, and that it was a writing class that I was short, always came to be a surprise to many of the people I worked with. I was always writing something, or reading a book; at the job, I was normally the best educated person there.
Ironically, this included college students (the Burger King I worked at was across the street from the campus). This puzzled me for some time. Ok, it still does. I sit in the classroom today, a forty-two year old college student, and am amazed that some of my fellow classmates actually managed to get into college. Maybe, it is because it is a community college; nevertheless, there are still times where I am the most educated person among my peers (my fellow students).
It was in philosophy that I finally figured out the reason for me being appalled by the education and general lack of knowledge exhibited by my classmates. Or rather, I was outright told by the professor. It is the "No child left behind" act.
No child left behind was a wonderful idea, maybe, on paper; if you are willing to ignore the fact that you can't force kids to learn and school districts to increase funding. Lack of interest on the part of students, and on the lack funds on the part of the schools, is the coffin of the no kid left behind act. In the end, all the no child left behind act has done is to cause school districts to rewrite the tests in such a way that any monkey, randoming filling in circles, could pass the test and earn a diploma. In essence, the no child left behind act has resulted in lower standards; it hasn't helped anyone.