Yes, Nevada has been rated as one of the 'dumbest states' in America. It's also one of the lowest funded. Hmmm... go figure. But even though I'd like to see a state lottery to fund our education system (and not our residents going over the border to fund another states), I think there are a lot of other problems.
I was very lucky to go to a private school for the beginning of my education. It seemed fast paced enough to keep me interested but not enough to get lazy. In retrospect, I know that going from private to public school in 7th grade was a mistake. Maybe, heavy counseling or something may have helped. If you are used to reciting the works of Shakespeare and are suddenly performing the works of Shel Silverstein... there is a drop. Everything seems easier and you aren't working as hard as you once did. Once I got used to doing less, I watched as it got harder to keep up as my work ethic disappeared. I started to rationalize that homework was a sham and that you needed to either do as much as you could there before going home or try to do before you are asked to turn it in. It became a twisted little game. I do think about where my education could have gone and am content with where things went but... as I think about my niece and nephew, I hope that someone is watching our future generation a little more closely.
I've heard it said often that the goals of most parents are to make their children's lives better than their own so their children don't go through what they have. Yes, we probably have a lot less people walking 30 miles to school in snow without shoes but is our education system getting better or worse. If a family can't sit down at a dinner table for dinner, how much time are those parents going to find to call a teacher? At minimum, it'd be interesting to see more interaction with the faculty. I'd love to see a survey of how many parents can tell you their teacher's name.