Anyone else wanna call "false dichotomy?" I hate to sound like a cynic, and I realize that institutionalized education of some sort is, at present, indispensable (possibly also indispensible). I also realize that, all other things being equal, "great teachers" (and the wiggle room here is tremendous) are one of the only, and perhaps the most important, factor that can make a difference. We all owe a great deal to a few of them, I expect.
But isn't this discussion, and aren't these strategies just ways of delaying, accomplishing marginal returns (demonstrated by dubious heuristics), to avoid the much more radical overhaul that would be necessary if we really wanted our children to tap their full potential, rather than to just ensure the continuation of the status quo, i.e., a (moderately) safe place to administer basic levels of socialization, normalization, enculturation, etc.?
Outside of the black box thinkers such as Sir Ken Robinson have been telling us for quite awhile now just how much creativity, curiosity, and sheer human potential we're dumping down the sluices of our top-down, factory farm-styled academic institution. Why do we continue to participate? I can't help but wonder if we're not all a little too comfortable with the 40+ hours of relatively inexpensive babysitting, accompanied by a full complement of blaming rights should anything go wrong. And you know what? I bet we could pay even a little less for it.