As I've mentioned before, I actually don't WANT public education by the government to be fixed. You see, the performance of the system could be improved a great deal WITHOUT compromising the primary mission of Cathedral indoctrination. If it was improved, less people would homeschool or seek non-Cathedral private school options. Obviously I don't want that.
So why am I going to tell you how you could make governmental public education suck less?
Because the knowledge that it COULD suck less creates rage in the population, and rage is what we need. Like a chemical reaction, even one that is highly energy releasing, a certain activation energy has to be reached, possibly with the assistance of a catalyst. If I thought that the system was capable of taking this action, even through an 'unprincipled exception', I'd stay silent. But since the elements of the Cathedral are practically petrified in their positions owing to their conflicting factions and contrary goals, we'll reason today.
In your average class, the teacher attempts to teach to some level beneath the median of the capability of the members of said class. At the college level in hardcore STEM subjects---which is my own direct experience, that level ranges from around the 20th percentile to the 40th percentile (although in a few courses, none of which I had the experience of teaching, that level shoots upwards to the 60th-75th percentile, these are the proverbial 'weeder' courses). This is the level of institutional 'acceptable losses'---that percentage that the institution is willing to countenance failing. Typically this is achieved by repeating the instruction, sometimes from slightly different angles, over and over until the desired Nth percentile has 'gotten it'. From all indications, at the grade school level this is somewhere around the 5th to 10th percentile, it may be even lower than this, as even 5% to 10% failing courses at grade school level would raise a lot of eyebrows at the typical high school.
So essentially what is going on is that every level of class (remedial, average, honors, AP) is being taught to the lowest performing member of that level. While this doesn't show up necessarily on things like 'No Child Left Behind', it represents the waste of colossal amounts of potential. How much potential?
Consider that an awful lot of homeschoolers do 'school' for only a couple of hours a day, and still manage to clock in a standard deviation above their public school peers. When they choose to go hardcore, which in my experience some will in their areas of particular interest or obsession, they tend to rule the competitive area where the appear (e.g., your various spelling or geography bees, academic competitions, and the like).
Furthermore, I've never met a homeschooled kid who didn't finish the high school equivalent by around age 15 or 16, about the age of typical high school freshmen or sophomores. Most of them weren't even breathing hard to do this, those who actually WERE trying to the best of their abilities are ready for college level work several years before that.
Another hint is this: People from all over the world come to the US for its college system. Do they seek out the K-12?
Ok, enough teasing. Say you want to engineer a governmental public school system that sucks less. How do you do it.
Well, first, I'm going to tell you the reason why YOU'LL NEVER DO IT. Doing what I describe will be at least equal to the status quo for almost everyone in the system. It will, however, massively advantage the capable to the point that they seriously 'leave behind' their putative peers. So inequality will be massively increased, even though nearly everyone will be helped, at least a little. Here's what you do:
Discard the notion of age-segregated grade levels entirely. Instead, you've got a list of courses/certifications that you've got to demonstrate mastery of to reach various checkpoints. I recommend the checkpoints of approximately what we call 6th grade level, approximately what we presently call 10th grade, and what we'd call a high school diploma. It would be preferable to link goodies to some of these levels, for instance:
When you can demonstrate 10th grade equivalent mastery, you can test for a driver's license if you wish. You can also do anything that presently requires a 16 year chronological age to do if you like (e.g., hold a job).
When you can demonstrate high school diploma equivalence, you can then register to vote and do all other things that an 18 year old is capable of doing.
These goodies would not replace but would be in addition to your regular chronological advancement. It makes no sense to allow for earlier completion of schooling if you're not willing to allow for earlier assumption of adult roles commensurate with same.
The next thing you do is you establish 4 levels of nearly every course you offer. For instance, English 1 would have 4 levels. The first level is slow, it is taught over 4 quarters, like most courses are now. The second level is slightly accelerated, and would be taught over 3 quarters. The third level is accelerated, and taught over 2 quarters. The fourth level is highly accelerated, and taught over 1 quarter. The actual subject material in each would be nearly identical, excepting for whatever needs to be changed to smooth the teaching of it to the audience in question. There would be no expectation that any individual takes the same level of acceleration in every area they study, no even the expectation that they take the same level of acceleration in the same subject at each subsequent course.
On the first day of class in each course, you'd take the comprehensive final exam for said course. If for some reason you passed, you'd receive credit for that course and be bumped into the next one. If you failed, but not terribly badly, you might be slotted into a more accelerated version of that same course.
Classes like physical education/recess would work the same way. You'd be in classes with students of similar levels of physical mastery, size, and fitness, and I'd encourage adherence to the old reactionary 'sound mind in a sound body' approach.
If you did this, a lot of present day students would finish a couple of years sooner, and, what's more, they'd actually be frequently CHALLENGED. A lot of your members of the Second Sigma might learn their own limitations as well, which would be desirable. Autodidacts would be allowed to RUN, instead of crawling.
But it'll never happen, at least until 'Comes the Reaction'. Makes you angry, doesn't it?