The second question asked at the Town Hall Meeting on education was "What strategies and resources must be brought to the fore at the middle school level, high school level and is there some strategy that might apply on the elementary level as well to increase success?"
In 20 years involvement with local education, the one consistent thing I've heard from teachers across grade levels is that students are not prepared when they reach their classroom. The same charge is made by colleges and universities: English information that was once contained in "bonehead" or "remedial" classes has now become English 101 as higher ed institutions have given up on getting new students who have the skills once expected to have been obtained in high school.
So where's our top-down construction of curriculum? Why aren't universities designing what students should be learning as seniors, high school teachers designing what students should be learning in middle school, etc etc etc. Although "curriculum committees" are generally lauded as "broad-based" and having participation from "important stakeholders" it's obvious that somewhere, the ball is getting dropped. That is, if the regular classroom teachers are correct in what they say about their incoming students.