Creating smarter, better functioning, more rational people is a big challenge in today's society. It would take a lot of restructuring of the educational system and education reforms. This wouldn't just affect students, it would also affect teachers.
You can google "high school graduation requirements [state]" for your state and typically find a list of vague requirements.
In general, the base requirements are:
4 years Language Arts - Composition, speech and debate, creative writing, American or world literature
3 years Mathematics - Algebra I & II, geometry, calculus, statistics, trigonometry
3 years Social Studies - American or world history, geography, economics, government/civics, sociology
2 years Science - Physical or earth science, biology, chemistry, physics
PE/Health - Gym, health
Electives - Art, band, theater, shop, choir, foreign language, computer classes, etc
What would make smarter people? Do we start requiring higher levels of knowledge to complete high school? Should we begin certain things at a younger age - such as foreign language or ethics or debate? Should we move to a trimester system? Should we encourage students to take college core classes during high school or merge the two? How about working with various trades for a junior apprentice program? How about making 4 years of mathematics mandatory instead of 3? How about making 4 years of science mandatory instead of 2? How about creating a separate accelerated program for the smarter students to prevent boredom?
Schools are starting to integrate more modern technology. Will the instructors be able to keep up? Thinking back to high school, there were instructors who had a difficult time with simple technology. I'm certain that this continues. Its an issue.
Let's toss some suggestions out there. If you have suggestions, leave them in the comments.
Foreign Language mandatory during 7th and 8th grade with continual options during high school.
4 years of mathematics mandatory in high school with trigonometry or pre-calculus being the new minimum (currently it's algebra II in most places).
4 years of science mandatory in high school
1 semester of debate mandatory
Basic computer skills mandatory in middle school - typing, using office, other boring stuff in one part; intro to programming in another part.
Healthy school lunches instead of low food quality school lunches
1 year of art mandatory in high school, whether it's music, theater, art, video production, creative writing, drafting/CAD, cooking, or something of equal value. Art encourages creativity and expression.
A more intensive health class that spans 1 year: 1 semester sex ed and drugs, 1 semester health and nutrition.
Establish a program for local trades and civil services to have "junior programs" for high school (along the same lines as JROTC). Consider: plumbers/pipefitters, carpenters, electricians, police, fire, etc.
Readers: Were you bored in K-12? What are your suggestions for improving the educational system? How do you recommend taking steps towards improvements? Also, feel free to discuss in the forum.