Luce's book is the story of a United States that's suffering from a variety of fairly well-known problems that intellectually seem far from unsolvable. And yet our political system, for some fairly profound reasons, just isn't working on solving the problems. Instead, it's leaping toward another terrifying and pointless debt ceiling slowdown even as political punditry remains excessively focused on personality conflicts rather than the structural roots of this dysfunction. It's time to start thinking.
The education situation is a variant on this. The obvious, proven solutions from an international perspective are disallowed from polite conversation, and incredible amounts of thought and punditry are being expended on dubious workarounds which keep people like Matt Yglesias happy but ultimately won't work.