How and what we learn has nothing has nothing to do with school. Learning is about choice. People are naturally curious and will seek out the things that they need and want to know. If allowed to follow these paths, their education will be rich and meaningful. Unfortunately, very few are able to learn in this way. Compulsive schooling requires that students learn what is in the curriculum, whether or not it applies to their lives. It punishes creativity and often critical thinking (students that ask why they are learning something are seen as disruptive). How can we work from where we are now to improve this situation? Teachers are some of the most committed and caring people I have met, but without acknowledging the constrictions and limitations schooling puts on young people students will not achieve all that they have the potential for. School limits our possibilities, driving students to be "successful" in standardized tests, rather than in real world experiences. School should guide learning and be a resource not something oppressive that forces unnecessary knowledge on our youth. 

I was waiting to get my taxes done and a family came in, a couple with a two year old son. The little boy was intensely curious, he ended up sitting next to me and asking me what the posters on the wall said. He would repeat me as I said each word. He will learn to read because he wants to know, it will have nothing to do with school. He kept asking me, "What is this? What is that? Why?" His father said he needed to go to school so that he could learn the answers to his questions. I imagine a teacher in a traditional classroom setting would not be amused with his questioning. This made me sad. I asked him what he thought of something and he said, "I don't know everything." I told him nobody did.