I don't see it as necessarily a problem of dumbing things down for the masses. I think it lies in a lot of the policy and resource problems we see in today's educational systems, particularly in the public educational system. We have students going to high school without the ability to read a book. We have schools where police officers have to be stationed inside the school during operating hours and children have to walk through metal detectors to get to football games and to class. There are many reasons why the system is that way. First of all, we don't have enough qualified teachers. For example, I took Spanish classes in high school (less than 10 years ago) from a woman who majored in History when she got her degree and teaching license. Teachers are not paid enough for droves of new college students and graduates to pursue public school education as a career. The lack of teachers' assistants in my area is part of the reason teachers aren't able to spend the time they need with children who aren't performing well in the classroom. Secondly we have so much legislation now that requires standardizing testing. Teachers aren't able to teach the subjects they need to, but are required to "teach to test", meaning their jobs are reliant upon their ability to pass their students on end-of-grade testing, not on students' actual learning. The no-child-left-behind legislation among other things might have great goals on paper, but without the teachers, funds, and resources to meet these goals, it really is more of a hinderance than a help. I could go on and on, but I don't think it's sufficient to describe the problem by saying that teacher's are dumbing things down. They are forced to teach to the status quo, and anyone that falls above OR below that range really, really suffers. It's quite sad.