<rant mode on>
One thing that greatly bothers me is that we live in a world where people talk, but don't do. Despite the endless rallies, protests, parades, drum circles, tea parties, "global awareness events", and other purpose-driven jamborees, personal participation and volunteerism seems to be at an all time low.
I live in a state where people are always protesting or marching for something or another, but their thoughts and words seem to translate into little action. For example, support for riding the bus is almost always from owners of minivans or BMWs; those of us that actually take it on a daily basis know that they're a smelly, unreliable, and expensive ($2 fare!) mode of transportation in which muttering homeless people will invariably elbow you in the face. Demographics show that most Wisconsinites are in favor of education, but surprisingly few of them are willing to do anything to support it, whether it be to hire enough teachers that all students are able to take state-required classes or even just make sure their kids show up to class and do their homework.
I've been helping out in the art metals & jewelry program at my old high school, and I'm appalled at the situation. All prerequisites have been removed, and, along with the other art classes, preference is given to "problem students" who take advantage of the easy grading to maintain the 2.5 average required not to drop out. The course has been cut in half from one year to one semester, and because many of the problem students in question are able to give vouchers in place of the materials fee, the budget is basically nonexistent. The net result is a class which interested and focused students are unable to take because a bunch of losers use it to hang around and play "catch" with the pipe cutter, which the teacher is then unable to afford to replace when it inevitably gets damaged. (How they put a twist in a cast-iron tool, I still don't know.)
I'm currently in the process of helping the class re-gear towards projects that make use of less expensive materials, like aluminum or wood, or use techniques like electroplating to allow students to replace silver with copper or brass. I've mixed up a batch of etching mordant (ferric chloride + citric acid) at 1/3 the cost of commercial etchants, and am in the process of building some $15 power supplies that can do the job of a $150 store-bought unit. However, there's a certain point where you just get fed up with having to surf Craigslist because the teacher hasn't got enough money to fix broken tools.
<rant mode off>