In a number of ways, the current system actually increases the demand for focus and attention of a particular kind. Since every teacher only has, at best, 60 minutes, and their class is equally as important as every other, the urgency to get every kid in his or her seat and working attentively creates a kind of frenetic intensity not to waste a single second (one that the kids resist just as energetically as the teachers insist). Depth of learning is not simply a matter of intense focus in the moment; it’s also a matter of long-term consideration and steady, careful, even leisurely effort. We are doing a great job of training a generation that’s very good at multitasking, but at a very real cost to depth, attention, and patience.
There are profound and significant differences between primary and secondary education that I did not cover here in depth.