Most of this article is not surprising. There are many problems with education. Here are some things I believe would help:
1. National curriculum. Sure this is a bold statement and I do not mean it to be. There would have to be variations of it and valid means to test it but this is a start.
2. Better testing. Quite simply, testing for improvement, not just a cut off level. Also handicaps which take variables like income, parents, IQ, learning disabilities, etc into consideration when looking at the scores.
3. Better teacher recruitment. At this point in time, our best and brightest do not want to be teachers. Heck who would for 30k a year?
4. Pay teachers comparable salaries that they would get in the corporate world. This is really the only way to get the best and brightest. Wanting to help kids only goes so far when the bank wants your mortgage paid. Many of my graduate students are teachers who are getting a degree in my field so that they can go corporate and make a better salary.
5. Get rid of under performing teachers. Now a good evaluation tool needs to first be put in place that does not solely rely on test scores but if a teacher is not doing well they should not be in the classroom. Tenure should be a non issue as it should be reevaluated with performance anyway.