Education is such a fundamental toolkit; given you are born with no knowledge and schooling seems to make sense, it makes a lot of sense that we fund public education up to the 12th grade. It also makes sense that the curriculum of the varying levels are geared towards the appropriate ages. There are a lot of things that just make sense; however, there are also a lot of improvements needed. Here are just some of my ramblings on our educational system here in the US.
Giving everyone an equal education sounds great on paper, and getting everyone up to a new norm makes for a more educated society; when something like this becomes so standard, however, it actually ends up hurting by creating a "level playing field." Back to the toolkit metaphor that I picked up from vlogbrothers' YouTube video, if everyone has the same toolkit then there is a much lower demand for users of those tools. Everyone should have a slightly different toolkit so that a "High School Diploma" goes from being the standard to something that is acknowledged with some approval.
In my opinion, GED in college is useless; your GED should be taken care of in High School. Really, the first two years of it should be GED-like courses. The last two years should be something like a trade/technical school, or something like a mix of electives varying from creative writing and ceramics to wood shop and finance. There's a few reasons for this:
For one, it allows students to achieve a basic GED-isque certificate showing a sense of being well rounded in their resume. It also allows students to eliminate the tedious 2 years of GED credit that they will likely never use in their field of interest.
Allowing students to take courses they enjoy in their latter half of the year allows them to "find themselves" and determine what they'd truly like to be doing for their career. I know so many high school students have no idea what they want to study further after school, and having this will provide some opportunity to try new things, no strings attached (e.g. major changing fees, extra courses)
On a more personal level, it also lets students enjoy their last few years. I for one was very stressed my senior year of High School due to all these issues and then some, so taking heavy courses off the table and replacing them with newer relevant courses would help significantly.
In the end, students should get a GED-like certificate with a concentration in a certain area they could earn from their last two years of elective courses. That way, everyone has a step into education while one's certificate not being the same as another person's, mixing the standard into one of varying certificates. It allows those who just want to be in and out the certificate they need, while allowing those that actually want something out of their public education a step in the door of their career.