We don’t need to create schools that do what you describe. They already exist across the United States and across the world. They are private/independent/progressive schools whose goal is to facilitate the development of the unique potential of every child. Children race into the building eager for a new day of learning. They leave as reflective, thoughtful, respectful human beings who know that they are capable of changing the world…because they have already experienced that as part of their “education.”
The problem is that these schools are out of reach for anyone whose parents can’t pay the tuition. Even when that tuition is less than the per-pupil expenditure in a given state, it is still out of reach for low-income and poverty level families. Does this mean that we should have vouchers that parents can use to send their kids to these schools? NO! It means that parents and concerned citizens need to expand the Opt Out! movement to include the one-size-fits-all standardized prisons that educational policy makers now demand.
You’re correct that incremental change — just enough to pacify the public — will never give us the schools we want and need. But if enough taxpayers recognize that public education is NOT serving their children…that it is, in fact, turning many of their children into worker bees for business and industry…can we exert enough pressure to shift the paradigm from knowledge-centered to learner-centered education? Why should we have to go outside tax-supported education to get what our children deserve? And if we must, then we should at least shift the financial burden of schools to business and industry, which is it’s main beneficiary!