My nephew sent this link from Boston Magazine that challenges the myth that American students are worse than our international competitors. In brief, 1) the studies which show us in a bad light are often comparing apples and oranges, 2) the American system is different and better suited to developing people who continue to learn as adults, and 3) 70% of American schools are just fine - best in the world, but the bottom 30% are so terrible it skews our numbers.
This is a favorite topic of mine. I noted in 2006 that our supposedly moronic teenagers have been going on to rule the world for several generations now.
So, 30% of American schools being inadequate is too much - but let's keep the problem in focus.