What about in those critical years before they get to elementary school? Should adolescents take it upon themselves to learn the value of reading, for instance? Should infants take it upon themselves to learn the value of a happy, healthy home? Should fetuses take it upon themselves to teach the mother personal responsibility? Do you think parents and environment have any role in a child's development? If you're not born with natural gifts and don't have parents who emphasize education, you will be at a learning disadvantage. You choose to ignore the fact that there was educational discrimination right up until the 1970s that has left some lasting damage. And you choose to ignore the fact that in our system, poor areas generally have less-well-funded schools. While it's true that all people know the importance of education, it's also a matter of degree. In my home, since both my parents were teachers, there was nothing more important than education, but that's not true in every home. If you know anyone from a poor, uneducated background, you would know that learning disorders are quite common, and they are sometimes intimidated by the educated (such as Harry Boys's self-deprecating remarks, as in Stupid Harry Boy, etc.) I think you're oversimplifying the issue.