The typical school model was designed to control students, it is unnecessary and even harmful to real education. Non-compulsory education is not just for smart kids, all children have a natural inclination to learn.
But looking at my siblings and some of my friends, I hesitate to make a blanket statement about this freedom. Perhaps everyone can do well if they're given this freedom from a very young age. I don't know. But I've met plenty of people who, if given this freedom in middle/high school (12+?), would not have been able to handle it. Whether this is because they already were 'corrupted' up to that age, or whether they have different personalities, I don't know. But I've seen it happen.