What is the Purpose of Our Nation's Education?

Educating our children serves an obvious positive purpose in the abstract - we need to pass knowledge down through generations.

But what should our curriculum goals be? To what degree should this be left up to the states?

It should depend on what level. Basic reading and writing skills are essential to function in most (all?) other areas of one’s future life. A basic knowledge of different subject areas is good as well. Also school gives kids the benefit of meeting of meeting other people and developing friendships. Higher education (high school/college) that is publicly funded should be to some extent based on our economic needs, whether that is for a state or country.