It is a frustration of mine that whenever I start to talk to anyone about education, the conversation always seems to turn to schools. Schools are pretty much irrelevant to education. Schools are for babysitting, social conditioning and political indoctrination - valuable functions in many cases, of course, but not much to do with education.

Recognition of this fact seems to be beginning to build. See this piece in the Washington Post arguing that Americans, who learn exceptionally little at school, learn well after school. See also The Overselling of Higher Education

I happened to read a novel the other day set in 190x Spain. I didn't know anything about the period - Spain was a complete blank to me from Napoleon to the Civil War. I happened to spend an hour or two poking about on Wikipedia, and I chatted about it with my wife in the evening. I now know as much about the period as if I had spent half a term on it at age 14. (True, what I "know" is not 100% reliable - but in my experience that is as much the case for secondary school lessons as it is for Wikipedia).