But are parents in the best position to gauge the needs of commerce in 10-20 years time and so provide the suitable education for their children?
Yes, education is an investment for the individual, but the theme has been and will remain that it is an investment for commerce. If the latter's return is not foremost then there is risk to the economy of skill deficiency. This was the situation moving from an agrian to industrial society, and has been true for each economic transition.
What you suggest is sweet Jono, and may appeal to the heartful American mid-west traditionalists, but is it practical or even desirable to place our economy at the risk of the sorts of parents we have seen on TV recently making the right decisions that will effect the generation after next?