For those who may not know, I am a teacher. Recently, a group of my friends and associates have been discussing education and its failings, and we have come to a sort of consensus. Although there do exist some poor teachers in our society, generally we believe that the problem lies in the attitudes of those being taught. Whether the attitudes are learned from peers, parents, or developed on their own, the tendency in students who are not succeeding in school seems to be apathy and disrespect.
Many of these students think the world either owes them something, or is going to hand them something, so they don't need to worry about school. This leads them to believe that they don't need the education being offered to them. The other side of that coin tends to be disrespect towards any authority figure, including teachers. They believe they can do, and/or say, anything they want, and nothing can be done to them. I am not supporting corporal punishment, but I know even the threat of that was enough to keep me toeing the line all through my school years. There is no accountability for these students, and they are right, there really is no way we can make them do anything. All we can do is try our best, hope for the best, and hope that somewhere down the road they finally get it.
Take care, and keep trying. Stick.