The first quarter of your life is spent to pure learning; elementary school, high school, college, university... all of this leads you to the future occupation(s) that you will hold. In this globalized world we live in, many other countries rival the United States' education system. I live in California; we are the 49th best education system in our country. I am in high school, and consider myself to be much more intelligent than other students. Our school just belts out the lessons, not showing us how they relate to and can be used in the real world. THIS IS NOT GOOD.
Part of why this is happening is because of the government; their spending in other sectors is disabling spending in schools and education, which is unwise considering how it is one of the ways to re-invest a nation's wealth wisely. Instead, they spend it on amnesty, health-care, war, blueberry farms...
Another reason why this is happening is due to the growing liberal nature of our country. Teachers are not teaching things properly, parents are not encouraging their kids or showing them what is right... and most importantly, students are not encouraged to learn. We need to show that we are willing to learn independently, or else these worsening practices will reach into the world of reality, money and economic stability.
Part of why colleges and universities are so large, multi-faceted and successful is due to their independent, private-funding nature. Colleges are like companies in the fact that they do not rely on 'bailouts', and they always have a market to supply to. Because of these two facts, they will always be reliable. However, they rely on smart, intelligent, eager-to-learn students with a prior education.
Education is something that influences you, usually for the better, and stays with you for all of your life. We need to re-finance the school sector and re-stimulate the education system.