The real problem with public education is not that it is public education in itself, but rather that we lump all the kids together as if they were identical. Kids learn at different rates, and the public schooling system fails to acknowledge this.
This explains the phenomena of smart people who get bad grades- they stop trying after a short period time, because they see that really trying doesn't get them anywhere early on. I've seen it happen all the time- and it happened to me. Most of them seem to become stoners.
Ironically, the bottom end of the intelligence spectrum isn't served very well either. An educational system normed for the average person moves far too quickly for the lowest common denominator. This causes a lot of them to flunk out as well.
After all this, only the slightly-smart people really succeed in school, along with the smart-and-well-motivated.
What klash had to say is pretty accurate- the state of Arizona now requires high schoolers to take a typing class, so that everyone will have at least one useful skill coming out of high school. Since most people didn't learn a whole heck of a lot in high school anyway, why not set up a vocational system like Germany? We also need more positive reinforcement in the lower grades for exceptionally smart people, and better support for those on the bottom end.
In short, education is quite possibly the most important thing in life. We need to treat as such. No, I'm not running for anything.
, such schools are rare; most have three tracks. The top two generally vary little, and the bottom is reserved for those who have serious mental deficiencies.