A reader explains why we maintain public schools. It is not about being college and career ready; it is not about global competition. It is this:

The reason for universal, free, and compulsory education is is simply this: the job requirements of a citizen in a democratic society are far and away more demanding than the job qualifications of a serf in a feudal society.

The age of emancipation from compulsory education may vary with circumstances, but the reason for establishing a norm of education in a democratic society remains the same.  It is one of those measures that democratic societies enact in the effort to maintain themselves as democratic societies.  Failing that, a government of, by, and for the people is far more likely to perish from the earth.

And nobody wants that, now do they?