You're absolutely right about parents taking more responsibility for their child's learning. Teachers are being asked to be miracle-workers with every child who walks through the door, sometimes at the expense of a good education for many students.
There is no reason why students can't be grouped according to reading ability and taught from the level they're on. Some schools have done this with great success, and no one needs to made to feel they're stupid. Teacher simply teach as they should - from the point a child is ready to learn. Education isn't about prizes and tests and scores printed in the newspaper. It's about learning.
Rhonda, Teaching children according to where they are is the only approach that makes sense--if helping them learn is the goal. Unfortunately, when it comes to educational policy, the people who have the power to change it don't seem to know that.