Now that I have taught 2nd grade 4 times I have a few thoughts on the matter. I will use spelling as an example.
I spell poorly. If you can believe it, its actually gotten better over the years. If it weren't for the dh staying on my case about every single word I misspelled I would still spell like my 7 year old (that and the handy dandy little red underlines, too bad those don't happen off the computer as well!). My oldest however, she spells like her daddy. At 12 she has only gotten less than a 100% on a spelling test once in my memory. One year I stopped her spelling mid year because she had memorized the entire list of words in one day and would tell me what word was next during the test. My 2nd daughter, well she spells like me. She needs a lot of repetition and explanation on why words are spelled like that are. When she gets 100% on a test we celebrate. Child #3, my oldest son, is like my oldest daughter. I can't remember him getting less than 100% on a test. He doesn't even do his spelling school work and still gets 100%. And I don't get upset he doesn't do his spelling cause what is the point? #4, my 2nd son, hes like my 2nd daughter and requires a lot of practice in spelling. I witnessed a huge transformation in him from the beginning of 2nd grade to the end, especially in the area of spelling. He still struggles but at least hes getting some words right now. I am sure he would appreciate those protesters outside the spelling bee.
Since I homeschool I can change the children's curriculum based on their individual needs. My oldest daughter and son really need to be challenged, or just to give up on the whole spelling lessons altogether since they seem to be able to pick up words as they read them. But my 2nd girl and boy, they need more spelling. They need lots of instruction and direction.
Now imagine for a second if they were not homeschooled but rather in a school, public or private, and their choices were after school tutoring or more writing with their school work. Now their school day went from 8 hours to 9 or 10 or more. But what of my oldest girl and boy? What about them? Is there an advanced spelling class? Not that I remember from going to school. They would have to keep on doing that same boring school work every week in class, not because they need to but because they have to. Everyone has to do the same school work. Every student has to be the same as the next one. There is very little individualization in classrooms. There would be stigmas attached and upset parents that the kids were all doing something different (even if thats what each of the kids needed) and all those who think everyone should be equal regardless of ability would be up in arms.
The short of the long of it is, kids aren't cut from cookie cutters. They are different. When one doesn't perform to a certain standard then change the standard. My kids are gonna be bucking standards for a long time I think. I have still 4 more kids to go through 2nd grade. Imagine what I learn from them!