Here is an interesting article from “The Atlantic” talking about the Finish educational system.
What I have conclude from this article is that an educational system of a country cannot be observed outside social, political, and economical context. An example is the property tax funding of public schools in the US. The second point I relate to “alternative learning” that necessary bases on the a priori social investment since the learner needs to have the developed motivation/capability for present learning.
Personally, I would change current vision for US education from “No child left behind” into “Every child given a chance” – I just feel that the idea of equality should not be misused. Having all the kids knowing all the same things is resulting in loosing the biggest quality human race has – diversity. I would prefer to see highly customized education. No matter if you are a type of the person that likes to sits down and listen to someone lecture or if you are someone who performs well reading in advance and then discussing details with a professor – both should receive the right environment for developing their natural or desired skills.