It's a long con. The cheating of America out of her public education system has been going on for decades.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that many “reformers’” policies have spectacularly failed, prompted massive scandals and/or offered no actual proof of success, an elite media that typically amplifies — rather than challenges — power and money loyally casts “reformers’” systematic pillaging of public education as laudable courage (the most recent example of this is Time magazine’s cover cheering on wildly unpopular Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel after he cited budget austerity to justify the largest mass school closing in American history — all while he is also proposing to spend $100 million of taxpayer dollars on a new private sports stadium).
I've been very unimpressed with how the public school system has treated my own kids. The idiocy of teaching to a standardized test has bored them immensely. When I went through public school, I read the book on day 1, and then tried to stay mildly interested for the rest of the semester. There were things that got me to actually get involved, but most of the time it was painful waiting for everyone else. From the stories I get now, it is even more of a kabuki sideshow these days.
Education needs reforming -- by people who subject their own processes to the same criticism as they elicit about the existing system. One thing I'm sure won't fix it is more fucking standardized testing.