There are many things wrong in the American public school system (we covered cafeteria meals here), and the film Waiting for Superman brought light to a lot of the issues facing schools.
One of the most shocking ones is that, on international math and science tests, American schoolchildren rank 25th in Math and 21st in Science among the 30 most developed countries. However, they also ranked 1st in thinking they outperformed everyone else. Some experts think that this is a combination of a high focus on self-esteem and low expectations. If true, this might put the US in an educational disadvantage in the future.