Well, it seems to be education week or month or something in Washington and on NBC coinciding w the release of the movie, Waiting for Superman. There is clearly something wrong w our public school system, which spends more money per student than any other country, but w poor results. I have seen and read parts of Obama's recent speech on the subject, and his words and actions seem somewhat contradictory. While I am not an expert, I have read a fair amount on the subject, and certain things seem glaringly clear.
1. The federal govt is more of a drag than a help. Govt makes most things worse, so why would we entrust the education of our children to the govt.
2. Throwing more money at the problem (the standard democratic answer) is not a good answer.
3. The teachers unions are a huge drag.
4. Greater parental involvement is a key, yet most of Obama's proposals seem to further limit the role of parents.
As a libertarian, I think the free market could do a lot better than the govt. Federal control and attempts to make all schoools and curriculum the same is wrong. Privatize education, let private companies compete to offer the best educational choices. The only way to find out what works is to try different things. Give tuition vouchers to poor children, or all children. (yea- I know that last one isn't very libertarian)