Earlier education is a terrible idea. Studies in Scandinavia repeatedly have shown that starting school before six leads to lowered performance and often creates anxiety based problems and dislike towards schooling that lasts a lifetime.
How about less homework but more projects like the finland model? Most Finns have less than 3 hours of homework a week because their time is not wasted on repetitive busy work. They actually focus on learning in the classroom with the teacher being a guide subtly directing the class with most of the discussion being done by the students. Instead in america we have kids sitting listening to teachers who for the most part lecture and abhor tangents and it is by tangents that actual understanding comes through connecting the dots to something meaningful to the students instead of rote memorization which is worthless.
Montessori, summer hills and other schooling systems have proven to be much more effective. Scientists are 8 times more likely than typical students to have strong Art and Music skills yet funding for such is always tenuous.
We have a great system if the goal is to train industrial workers and soldiers using the Prussian model of the 19th century and Pavlovian training with bells and rigid time tables.
If we want creative and competent thinkers we have to abandon Lectio for more Disputio to spout some Latin. More language study, more arts, more fun and hands dirty science and more questions with less ‘work’.
Starting earlier to imprison kids and take them away from strong parental involvement is a terrible idea. How about more vacation time for workers so parents could spend more time with their families like in all of europe? How about daycare help and maternity aids like france has where people come by and help exhausted parents with house chores. The key to strong development and a love of learning comes from parents and parents must have the time and energy to bond with their kids. A kid can learn more and understand the world more with a two week vacation to a far off country than two weeks in a chair. Self directed learning towards passions of the student and more focus time on the strengths of a student will work wonders. If a kid who loves dinosaurs realizes he needs to learn math and scientific to go further will WANT to learn math and science and will CHOOSE to study them and will run circles around a kid taught by a teacher with a lesson plan that can’t be deviated from.