Well, this is a bit surprising:
(From Tino Sanandaji's blog, Super-Economy, which promises "Kurdish-Swedish perspectives on the American Economy.")
The amazing truth about PISA scores: USA beats Western Europe, ties with Asia.
What I have learned recently and want to share with you is that once we correct (even crudely) for demography in the 2009 PISA scores, American students outperform Western Europe by significant margins and tie with Asian students.
Of course, the great strength of American society is that it does a good job of absorbing immigrants. Another strength of our society is that we allow more immigrants to enter the country than most societies do, which is why our demographic future looks so much better than Europe's, Japan's or China's. Follow the link and read the whole post.
We should outperform most countries, since we spend more on education than most, but the conventional wisdom is that our schools don't match up. So, if our schools are so good, why is what we know about our schools so wrong?