I'd guess the best answer to the problem with our education system is to study the country's whose kid's test scores rank the highest.
I'll bet it boils down to how the family unit regards the importance of education and passes that understanding down to their kids. Not so much the education system itself.
I don't think it's so much our education system is failing, more the parents. Getting a kid to school age means they don't have to pay daycare any longer.