Perhaps a more constructive way to examine the "problem" of education is to see where there is agreement, or disagreement in individual "areas" of the problem.,
First, parents. Are parents doing a better or worse job at sending kids to school who are more or less predisposed to be taught or want to learn than, let's say, was the case 20 to 30 years ago. If so, why do you think that is?
Second, teachers. Are teachers more or less serious/conscientious about their professional responsibilities to students than they were 20 to 30 years ago. If so, why do you think that is?
Third, students. Is the "quality" of student different today than it was 20 to 30 years ago in terms of their abilility\willingness to take responsibility for their own education. If so, why do you think that is?
Fourth, any other major area that you can think of. Perhaps the public at large, the "least common denominator" approach to problems which seems to permeate our politics, etc. etc.
I frankly doubt the "debate" can be meaningfully held without talking about all of these areas; although I do believe that some are going to be viewed by different people with different degrees of emphasis in terms of their overall importance to the "problem" or the "solution"