In the beginning and middle years of schooling, students do need to be exposed to various disciplines and subjects and classics so that they get a feel for what they want to pursue in their lives. Once they are pretty well set, then they should be allowed to choose their path in school, too, to assist them in getting there.
I strongly agree that the amount and type of education be proportionate to the persons career path. Different career paths require different skills and knowledge, and an education tailored to fit you would be magnificent. It means that students would devote most of their time to practicing and studying skills that will benefit them specifically. This also means that by doing this, students have a better way of understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and see if what they want to do as a career is the best choice for them. Furthermore, having a customized and focused education for students would result in them being better prepared for their career; ready to make a difference. However many basic fundamentals such as reading, maths and science should be incorporated into everyones education in order for them to fully develop as a person. And many argue that everyone should have a little bit of everything in order to be well rounded, but the reality is, if you can do one thing very good, then you can be successful. Students are useless that are the jack of all trades, and a master of none.
In my eyes I believe that the only setback to this ideology is that there may be essentially too much people that are too good at everything if this concept is implemented into students education.
The idea of the 'well-rounded student' needs to be outright removed from the modern educational institution. This idea that kids should all learn a whole variety of tasks that will probably never use is just a waste of money and time. Those children could be learning towards their career instead of learning about something that has nothing to do with their career. Why should I learn how to make potato soup or stitch some clothes if I could spend that same time learning about stellar evolution like an astronomer should?
Even in college this is apparent. I have to take an English course for an astronomy major! The only use for the English language in my field is talking, writing grants, and writing academic papers. All of these I have sufficient knowledge of the English language to do, and if anything, I should be learning how to actually write an academic paper with respect to its formatting. Instead I am forced to partake in courses that I took in high school, and am just wasting my money and time that could be much better spent, especially in this day and age of massive college debt.
I was having a conversation at school with a friend of mine and as we were talking about homework, she said that she wanted to be a photographer when she graduates high school and that she already has a future job at a friend's business, and as we were discussing this she cracked a joke saying " I haven't received one bit of information from this school that will help me in my future career, but gosh dangit I sure can whip out some useless calculus". Joking aside, I think she made a decent point, does calculus and higher level sciences really matter when one has no intention of ever using it?
The purpose of overloading us in high school with all of the information and knowledge such as calculus is to improve us as soon-to-be fully active members in society. In order to keep people on the same level, we give them the same education. To begin allowing people to choose their own amount of education will limit people to that education creating people society would consider "lesser". The government makes you take most of the classes that you do so that you can keep up with the rest of society, not just for "fun" calculus facts and the like. Also in my opinion so that they can better advertise to you through references of things you learned that you might not learn if you had this "lesser" form of education. Therefore to avoid further discrimination in society than what is already present, we must keep on loading ourselves up on "useless" info, based on their potential and not their utility to each and every individual. I get where you're coming from though, I too despise doing things like math and sciences most of the time when I do not plan to do anything with that knowledge. The key is however for the government at least is that "I do not plan to". Its that potential and that uncertainty. Teenagers are known for their uncertainty of their future, most teenagers attend high school, therefore in order to assist teenagers we open them up to all forms of knowledge so that they can attempt to make some kind of decision and later specialize through post secondary education.