Considering my wife is a 3rd grade special ed teacher, I assure you that I know what you're talking about
Regardless of crappy teachers, crappy parents, or crappy students, you can't expect people to learn if you are training them to pass a test.
This was my experience as well. The kids are going to learn how to pass the class. For a few of them, that means reading the material, studying, etc. For the rest of them it means figuring out how to game multiple choice tests by elimination, realizing ALL reading comp section questions are asked in the order they appear in the paragraph, etc. I was a good student grade wise, but tbh, I can't remember 75% of what I learned in high school because I managed to learn how to learn just enough to get through the test & never thought about it again.
With your bare hands?!?