Having been an educator, youth worker, for half a century, and juvenile prison mentor for a quarter century, I bring a realistic, on-the-ground perspective to these dilemmas.
The reversal of this incarceration problem is primarily the responsibility of the parents and families failing these youth. We need a national discussion of how to best empower parents and families to do a better job of guiding their children. There is also the failure of churches, schools who need to do more to guide youth morally. The lack of community-based organizations to assist youth must also be reversed. I will advocate for all these things.
The poor performance of schools is primarily the responsibility of local school districts, who must be accountable to parents. Overall I believe our education process must be overhauled to better equip our youth. Our teachers and students must also be protected from violent students. A strong hand in these two areas will open the doors to innovation and quality educators.
While I am saying that education is not the domain of the federal government, it can be a support by providing: #1-national standards #2 a national website of knowledge and skills for students, teachers, parents and administrators to measure their progress.
We need to shoot higher for our standards of what we expect high school graduates to come out of our schools into the world with. There must be a renaissance of classical education, and institutions who are unwilling and unable to renew must be shuttered. That is a local decision. Also: higher education is not always a necessity a good life and economic self-sufficiency. High schools must get back into the trades preparation business.