This is a tough question. I can only cite my experience.
My daughter had learning challenges due to an accident as a toddler. By fourth grade, I had blown money on every known helping tool and institution, trying to get her to read. Her teachers had given up and were basically letting other students take responsibility for her group work. When this program entered the school system, she was placed in a reading program and evaluated. It was determined that she needed vision therapy. Ten years later and she is getting As in college English.
My son, on the other hand, was bored because the schools taught to the "lowest common denominator." He nearly flunked middle school, yet he is now in Mensa.
Yes, it's destructive system.
There is a chance that initially slow people will stand up and catch up to the group (Like I did after suffering from depression for 5 years), but that is a very low possibility and my education system didn't stop for me (International Baccalaureate program - one of the hardest programs in the nation) which shows that there's no need to such a system. If people are willing to work hard, they can catch up.
The No Child Left Behind System essentially brings the whole pack down for the few who don't care about education and is essentially not going to grow into anything special (with FEW exceptions of course).
America's pre-college system sucks. It's why we're getting more and more behind other countries who study their asses off.
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