We need public education but the system needs to be overhauled. There is a problem with your proposal in getting rid of these schools altogether. The information to be learned by students is consolidated, organized, and extra resources for learning are made available, the biggest resource you mentioned already, the internet. I'm a senior studying geology at a quality college in South Dakota and I've used the internet to learn almost everything required for my degree. This is either because I don't feel I'm getting quality instruction from my professors, or because the books they give us are so packed full of information that even the books themselves are not relevant to the subject matter.
That being said, if one could create a robust curriculum, organize the material, include checks and balances into the system in the form of homework, subject quizzes, and self tests, include video lectures and instruction when necessary, and do these things in a way that allows students to understand not just what they are doing, but WHY they are doing it, then a stronger focus on individual learning would manifest. Couple this with a post educational apprenticeship program in the students field of choice, and then not only would we eliminate the need for public schools, but we would reinforce the importance of public education, bring opportunity back to the students, and give America the chance it needs to compete globally.
There other thing is that no matter how smart a kid is, in the public school system, that child is let down because there is no focus on individual learning. That child is stuck to work and learn at the pace of the other students, or forced to keep up at the pace of other students who naturally grasp the subject matter. The SYSTEM needs to be changed, and its why America is falling behind. Tell a bunch of kids that they have to go to school, then tell them they have to learn things that are mostly irrelevant to their interests, then tell them that they have to learn it at an uncomfortable pace, and that they have to learn it in a way which is not relevant or inclusive of their interests, then you're not educating. All you're doing is forcing good kids to conform to a system that will leave them hopeless, without opportunity, without motivation, without personal responsibility, and without a clear conception of acceptable standard.
Those are my thoughts. There is a need for change in the system.
It's a big blue world!
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