Back in the early 70s I was working in Hartford Ct. Pratt & Whiney that made jest engines had to create a remedial math program for high school grads before they could enter apprenticeship programs. Machinists and metal working. It was said they did not have the same basic math skills past generations had.
Schools became an experiment in social engineering. In the 90s my sister was a teaching assitant in a Long Island grade school. Numerical grades were gotten rid of. Getting the right answer in math was no longer important.
Add to that today both police and teachers are expected to be social workers and psychologists. We hear it in the news around here, teachers leaving the profession faster than those who are cumming in.
Part of it is pay, a lot of it from interviews is they are simply overwhelmed with responsibilities and are just worn out.
I've seen angry immigrant parents at school meetings who complainer kids who do not speak English are falling behind, and what is the school going to do about it.
From what I see school has became a defacto day care for single or working couple parents.
It not the job of schools to raise kds and insill values like wrking at education, that is the resposibi;ity of parents.
The primary seduction system of the 30s,40,50s,60s produced the people that pit us on the moon and developed modern technology.
What has changed in culture? Public schools used to be about assimilation for immigrants, not it about diversity to an extreme. No single American culture. Is that working?
If kids are given a high school diploma and can on;y read at grade school level and can't do simple math who is to blame?
So your sister was a TA in the 90s, and you are talking about schools today. Also, I was a student in the 90s, and getting the right answer in math as in other courses was definitely necessary! While partial credit existed, it wasn't what it was like in college, primarily in the engineering courses.
Don't we have movies talking about struggles of the poor in schools from the 30's (The Corn is Green), 60's (Up The Downstairs), 80's (Lean on Me / Stand and Deliver)? None of this is new. The added problems of lawyers and teachers needing to be first responders these days to mass shootings is definitely a weight, but schools were never a utopian paradise. And children graduating schools today have had to learn a boatload more than we did. Anecdotally, my daughter is learning pre-algebra in 4th grade.
So please stop thinking that your generation invented perfection.