It sure would be nice if we could make a high school education mean something again rather than 'forcing' people who really have no desire to go to school for another 4 years do so. I mean, I went to college, did well, and it was interesting and all, but I wouldn't say it was absolute necessary in what I am doing today (other than it was a technical requirement).
As it stands, high schools are so vastly different in the inner cities compared to the wealthier areas. Discipline is the issue that stands out the most (just getting kids to stop talking and pay attention), but even just bringing more trade programs to high schools might give some of these kids a little more hope and direction for their future.
I get that more students might go to college if it were absolutely free, but if a student from a lower income family wants to go to college, they absolutely can. Heck, I paid off my own tuition and my loans didn't even cover my costs each semester.
As we move further and further into the digital age, more focused education will be necessary, but let's face it, there are a lot fewer CEOs, or even managers/supervisors than there are workers. It seems to me we should be able to educate these people enough through more focused high school programs and on-the-job training, rather than just putting Joe Shmoe through additional schooling that he doesn't even really want anyway; but feels he has to do.