In the 1920's even into the 50's High School was generally not vital to complete you could earlier complete grade school and go into a skilled trade or work in a factory, even in the 1950's you could complete some High School and it was not crippling. High School was a big deal in the early 20th century you earned a diploma it was the way in to skilled work, management paths and college and specialty business colleges. An example in the 1950's my grandfather graduated High School and walked into a machinists job as a helper, but it paid twice the coal mining work did and when he rose up the ranks made a big income far over his relatives. He learned this trade in High School with related classes.
Now High School is not enough and I wonder why? It seems all college prep and nothing is available to do other things a Plan B for those not doing well in these classes focused on college.
I agree parental involvement is a must, more money would be good and based on performance and bad teachers need to be able to be removed and teachers need with administrators to have more control to advance students not commit a test as the main means, but day to day interaction. But in the end if a student is not college material or likely to do well in high skill work (making solar panels and such) then need other options in High School where the career education is practically free.
One thing I will agree with is the shift in how we view post-secondary education and trades. And I blame the economy, as well as to an extent popular belief.
Popular belief states that "trade" jobs like factory worker, carpenter, auto mechanic, what have you pay poorly and can become phased out fast. But, thanks to how we're all led to believe, a college education promises us fantastic high paying jobs with just a few years of effort and a little debt! What's not to love?
Sadly both things are complete falsehoods; I know a guy with 30k still in debt, in his thirties, with a degree, and works at the same place I do for the same pay (I have some college education, but no degree). I know an auto mechanic that makes twice what I do.
High school nowadays seems half college prep, half "You can't manage a job at Mcdonald's without a diploma, so let's find ways to give them diplomas". Very little prep for the real world, very little help in determining what you want to do or your life plan. So you get tons of HS graduates, dropped into college, and no clue what they're doing.
I'll agree more options need to be presented to our students, especially trades- hence why I think we need a better budget. that, and to pay teachers more so that it's an attractive job. I know people that want to teach and could do well at it, but couldn't pay the bills if they did.