Here are some of my own personal thoughts:
I can see some logic behind the mindset of more leniant standards early on (elementary) getting more stringent as they progress to highschool and on to higher education (Uni or trade schools) for the sake of keeping more kids in school at the lower levels, in the hopes that they will progess into high school and beyond. But I also believe it will teach them bad habits that will be much harder to break. Also I believe that those who fail should only be allowed to proceed if they make it up in some form of supplemental examination. If they pass, let them proceed, if they dont, then too bad for them, make them take the class/year over.
Sorry Luis, I thought it would have been funny
The schools do not have a reason to make changes to the policy unless there are pressures from some source. I think this falls back on the parents since a lot of them are not willing/able to put in the time required to teach their kids that unpleasent things happen when you deviate from socitey's norms. I hear parents complain that the schools expect too much from the kids and that some classes won't even allow cell phone use during class! These vocal parents fought, and won, to get cell phones allowed in schools so their kids can call and text each other during class. They don't want to hear that little Johnny/Susie is going to get a zero for plagarism, I have heard parents justify and try to explain the plagarism from their kids. It is rediculous. No one wants to see their kid fail a grade, but sometimes it is necissary to have a minor failure so you arent setting the kid op for a major failure in high school.
I think one of the biggest problems is that parents don't want to see their kids have hurt feelings. This type of behaviour has led to kids wanting instant gratification and lack of vision for consequences of actions. Parents reinforce this by getting a 12 year old a cell phone, getting a 16 year old a new car, and another new car after they smash the first one. These teachings are now trickling down to the school system where everyone has to win at school sports and everyone has to pass, just so there are no hurt feelings. I recently attended a high school volleyball game, and both teams were required to cheer after each point. I had to ask why both teams were cheering the others' points, and the response was that, "We don't want our players to make the other teams players feel bad".
We are losing the competition amung the students because no one wants to lose, but it is an unavoidable part of adulthood, that these kids are not learning. We are now heading into dangerous territory as these kids will be in the workforce in 10 years. Not penalizing plargarism is just another step in the wrong direction.