Stupid in America - Separate School and State
Public schools serve a purpose.
They teach a few basics, poorly. They teach obeying leaders, fairly well. They indoctrinate into country focused chauvinism, very well.
They do not teach critical thinking, personal responsibility, or the skills necessary to succeed on your own.
Private schools cost less per student, teach more of the basics, and at least give lip service to teaching children to be responsible.
Here is a good web site on separation of school and state.
Below you will find some good books on the problems with public schools, and ways to improve learning.
Instead Of Education: This book echoes the Bastiat Free University creed "rediscover the pleasures of self directed learning."
The Twelve Year sentence: A re-release of a popular book that dissects the concept of public education.
School Reform: How bad can schools be? When Vermont Law School graduate Marilyn Bartlett had to take her bar exams, she filed a lawsuit to get a special exam room, food, drink, unlimited time and somebody to write her answers, since she could barely read or write, and judge Sonia Sotomayor ruled in her favor! Bartlett couldn't even recognize the word "indicted," which makes one wonder who's going to help the clients of such a lawyer.
Separating School and State: The history of government schools from ancient Sparta to today shows "reformers" as less concerned with literacy than with suppressing individual initiative and supporting the state.
Anticipating one of the responses to this list, I'll end with this quote from C. F Bastiat:
"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society.
As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. ...
... It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain."