Parents are to be the primary educators in both academic and behavioral areas. As a culture, however, we have relinquished much of that child rearing responsibility to the public school system. If we're to gain back a responsible society we need to start with responsible parents demonstrating to their children that education begins at home and not in the classroom.
We have taught our children that everyone wins regardless of effort or talent. In so doing everyone loses. We have a weaker education system and teens, who can not read or write, graduating from high school. We need to remove from the system the pressure to pass students falling below performance standards replacing it with motivation that students meet the required benchmarks.
Parents must also be involved if the education system is to work. Parents need to be held accountable for their children's behavior in school. If their child is having behavior problems options can be made available to the parents. For example, they could attend class with their child to monitor his / her behavior or be allowed to observe a class setting via video. The goal is to encourage parental responsibility of the student's conduct.
We must some how relieve teachers of the undo responsibility of being the sole enforcer of discipline in the classroom. Teachers need to teach. Parents need to parent!
We can also emphasize to high school students especially we need all walks of life in our society from white collar college educated workers, to blue collar workers in skilled labor. We must continue to explore technical alternatives for our students helping them discover their potential even while in high school. As they realize their potential in certain areas they will become more interested in learning and excel in those areas.
At the younger grades an emphasis should be focused on the basics of reading, writing, math, and general computer skills. These are essential life skills for all regardless of what a person chooses to do in his / her adult career!