As a former public high school teacher I often feel pangs of guilt because I was part of a system in Ontario that did not have the best interests of its students as its ultimate purpose (although I did try to ignore the system). What was its ultimate purpose? Not an easy answer, but the system was primarily geared to other things like, staffing, timetabling, government "edu-babble" and maybe then to students. Of course this view was not shared by most teachers but I'm certain it was shared by many students.
Thanks to the wonders of social networking, email etc., I present to you a courageous valedictorian, Erica Goldson, of an American public high school who feels much the same as I do. If you want read along the full text of the speech is here. Erica is an anomaly, and her speech is obviously not typical but as you will hear, deeply felt.