The question I will ask is not of state funded schools but of state owned schools.
I will use this post to offer an option which may appeal to some, but mainly I offer it in hopes of some substantive criticism.
Propose a state funded (national or provincial, that is irrelevant at this time) private schooling system. This system could be equated to a voucher system of sorts. The schools would be private, and set their own price levels independent of any legislative influence. Governmental appropriation offices (once again national or provincial) would supply citizens with 'vouchers' that are worth a certain amount at any accredited educational institution. These institutions would be accredited by similarly privately owned state funded institutions; essentially contracting. These institutions would then compete with each other and respond to market demands similar to any business.
Alright, lets apply this line of thought:
Private schools 'Posh Academy' and 'The Shabby Institute', secondary education institutions, are both accredited and are currently functional in the market.
The educational vouchers at this time were set at $4000 by the institute of Made Up Numbers.
Posh Academy offers guaranteed small classes, higher levels of instruction including an unusual core curriculum containing calculus, physics, biology, ethics, economics, business, and political science. All classes are taught by doctorate level instructors, and incorporate the latest technological innovations in their instruction methods. This school is viewed as a highly reputable preparatory school and many of its graduates typically move on to ivy league universities and successful leadership careers.
The Shabby Institute primarily offers large auditorium classes, and technical 'shop' classes, both of which meet the minimal core accreditation standards. The classes are going to be taught by graduate students from the local university and will use basic PowerPoint/note-taking lecture, and 'shop-practice' styles of instruction. This school is viewed as a basic tech school which prepares graduates for semi-skilled labor in the work force. A small percentage of the graduates typically go on to various technical universities.
Posh Academy has set its' prices at a noteworthy $20,000 per semester. (room and board not included) The Shabby Institute has set its' prices at $3000, the remaining $1000 can be used by the student to purchase educational equipment that matches their focus. Once again the standard is: most schools offer services equal to the average standard of education today for the cost of a voucher.
Posh Academy is known to operate with a significant profit margin (evil capitalists amirite?) due to the prestige associated with the school. Whereas The Shabby Institute is constantly trying to cover its' operating costs, resorting to any forms of subsidization it can get. All in order to keep prices low for the impoverished individuals who typically enroll. (poor dears!)
Is there anything wrong with this situation? Posh Academy and The Shabby Institute are tailoring their services to the market. Access to education is ensured but only minimal quality is guaranteed. Individuals who have a greater ability to pay will have access to higher quality, and likely more individualized education. These institutions will be run with the efficiency of modern business with the only state guarantee being that local customers will be able to afford a certain price. Yes this system of education is funded with stolen money, but so is our current one. In theory this is only an adjustment to the current educational system. A large variety of efficient institutions would be created and any individuals who did not wish to go to school would not have too. These unmotivated individuals would no longer be a cost to the system and they could seek wealth elsewhere.
I will ask you dear reader, to argue with me. Prove me wrong, critique my supposition. The only way for me to learn is with your constructive feed back.