The reason why I learned nothing about magnetism in my many years of school, is that magnetism is still quite mysterious and fascinating, and mainstream scientists generally don't like to admit that they don't fully understand such a common, everyday thing! My current educational project, which should actually be fairly simple to pull off, is to design a math curriculum that incorporates magnets.
Compulsory education, which started right when industrialization was taking off, totally changed the way the rest of society perceives science. Before industrialization, people did not need to be trained for factory-style work, and so could learn freely at their own pace. Theoretical science was perceived as being exactly as relevant as our society sees philosophy today. After industrialization, factory owners needed a cheap program that grades and sorts people on their ability to follow complex instructions. The laws of science and mathematics provided precisely such a program!
Science became the cornerstone of the compulsory school curriculum, and therefore holds its current place in the media as the "economic driver." However, the attitude that theoretical science is an economic driver is a cover used to justify the need for our current competitive, compulsory schooling system that allows large corporations cherry pick the brightest students for management positions. Experimentation and tinkering are what leads to new inventions and technology, but theoretical science, which is 99% of the science that is taught in schools and universities today, really is only peripheral to the invention of new technology and economic growth.