According to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, and reported in The Washington Post, "the nation's high school seniors have shown no improvement in math and reading performance since 2009." For a generation we have been pumping trillions in fresh money into our schools and experimenting with a variety of creative reforms, with little to show for it.
I believe the fundamental error we make is in trying to impose reforms from the top down. The U.S. Department of Education is a great exercise in bureaucratic bloat. It churns out mounds of studies and position papers that serve no viable purpose other than to provide politicians a ready forum to announce their latest initiatives that soon disappear.
The real power over public schools is at the local level with about 15,000 school boards, too many of which are controlled by local activists who want to teach our children the world was made in six days. This belongs in the same category as Islamic students memorizing the Koran. I fully encourage everyone to have a spiritual life, and schools should respect that, but not to the point of that science and religion cannot coexist.