The statement that is the title is an opinion. To determine if a system is flawed, the purpose of the system must first be established. Once it's established, and only then, can the determination be made if it's functioning correctly or not. So, this prompts the question: What is the purpose of the education system? To educate, of course! But the deeper and real question is, to teach what?
Currently, the education system roughly works like this:
Elementary school teaches you basic English and math skills. There's also basic religion thrown in there, physical education and... nothing else comes to mind from what I can remember. Science, I guess, but even then, nothing ground breaking.
Secondary (high) school teaches you the foundation for advanced math, science (atoms, weather, etc then specializes in chemistry, biology and physics), more religion and English. These four subjects are the major aspects of these four years. The anchor subjects, if you will.
Post-secondary teaches you (more or less - more on this later) the tools you need to be qualified for your chosen career.
Elementary school, fundamentally, from a curriculum perspective, is more or less acceptable. The basics are there: reading, writing, addition/subtraction/multiplication/division - basic things you need to know to function in society. However, the problem with elementary school is that they coddle their students. I'll take my brother, for example. Let's call him John (not his real name, taken after John Doe). John is lazy, and doesn't do homework. John is in absolutely zero danger of failing his grade. The policy is not to fail students, because it 'hurts their feelings' and affects their self-esteem. Intention is good, I don't dispute that, but it's unrealistic. As a result of this policy, My brother's grown up in a bubble; he has no sense of failure, it's not something he's experienced before. If he doesn't hand in an assignment, the teacher will say something like this:
"It was due last week, John. You really need to hurry up and get this project in to me."
"John, you're late with your assignment. Once you get to high school, this will be unacceptable."
There's no real incentive to do anything and there's no real understanding of the consequences of inaction. The words of the teacher fall deaf onto John and his peers. They nod, say okay and they understand, and they think they do, but they don't. They've never fallen before. They've never been told that they've failed something and need to deal with the consequences. They've always been caught before they hit the ground, whether they realize it or not, and are living in a false sense of reality. As I'm sure the readers of this are aware, the world does not catch you. This is setting up young children to have unrealistic expectations of life and is setting them up for catastrophic failure.
Secondary school is a disaster, almost a complete waste of time. For anyone over the age of twenty, someone that may rent, have a job, possibly owns a car or even have considering owning a house, I ask you this: What have you learned from high school that helped you with these things? Personally, my four years prepared me for nothing. There was a half-semester of Careers (which, really, was a joke) and a half-semester of Civics. Both, in theory, are life-essential courses, but the curriculum foundation makes them a joke. Half a semester is several weeks, that's not a lot of time.
Besides Careers & Civics, what is taught that's essential? Geography is arguable, you have a general sense of the world's politics and a rough idea where all the countries are. Math sets you up for higher-level courses (more on that later). Science gives you a general idea of how atoms work and elements, which is nice, but not something you need to know on a daily basis. World Religion is arguably relevant, but even then, it's falls in the category of Geography, which is "nice to know, but not essential".
What is essential in secondary school? I struggle to answer that question. Besides the aforementioned Careers & Civics, I can only think of the Automotive class, which at least teaches you basic vehicle maintenance. That's something that everyone should know.
What about English? That course doesn't teach you anything, besides trying to get you to think a certain way. English teachers are notorious for their "my way or the highway" way of thinking in regards to symbolism. If you don't interpret the piece in the way that they feel is correct, then you're wrong. This is so counter productive, it boggles my mind. One of the goals of high school is supposed to be to teach you to think for yourself, but this is accomplishing the exact opposite. On top of that, it's with the topic of symbolism. Symbolism is one of the most opinionated and subjective topics in the entire English subject. Symbolism is open to interpretation, that's the whole point of it.
Secondly, in regards to English, the courses fail in the very name. In my post secondary education, there was a mandatory (required) English remedial class. The professor explained that there was so many complaints by other professors as to the state of the assignments being submitted, that this course had to be created and made mandatory. The second half was productive - showing us how to write various types of reports (it was a technical campus, associated with a university), but the first half was basic grammar. Literally, basic grammar and usage. We'd have a week dedicated for each topic and a quiz at the end of the week, to determine if we were proficient enough with the topic to not be required to go to extra seminars. Such topics included: commas, semicolons and when to type out or spell numbers. These are all things that should be taught in secondary or even elementary school. I won't even get into the tuition cause and issues associated with this.
Another course that stands out in my mind that I took in post secondary was pre-calculus. The second time I took the course (don't ask), it all became so clear. The random and dis-jointed Math courses in secondary school were all coming together as the foundation to calculus. That made the struggles through those four years seem justified, almost. But, really, how useful is pre-calculus? I can't say that I use it on a daily basis. It's not something that a normal person uses in their day to day lives, besides really cheesy pick-up lines. This, to me, is a sign that the post secondary system is failing at their job: to make us the best possible person we can be in our chosen field. However, it's not really their fault, as they're picking up the slack from secondary schools.
Secondary school is where the blame lies, squarely. Not solely, but significantly. The system needs to change, or it will become like the financial system in recent years, it'll crash in on itself. Much like the financial system dramatically affected society, so will this. A generation of young people is being unleashed upon the world that has no idea how to do basic things: buy a car, rent a house, get a job, buy a house.
I was planning on including an example of a ridiculous mortgage offer from a bank, to prove that I wouldn't know if it was a ridiculous offer or not, due to the failure of my education system. The sad thing, though, is that it occurred to me that I don't even know enough about how mortgages work (and how to get one) to be able to come up with an example. That's pretty sad, isn't it?
Note: My experiences are based primarily on the Ontario provincial education system.