I'm struck by the willingness of some contributors to this site to
express, either consciously or unconsciously, views about the U.S.
higher educational system that are little more than thinly vailed anti-American rants.
In general, I think that the regular users of Academia.SE are quite respectful of each other. The problem is that we work in several different educational systems that might value different qualities in their students or in their research, or they might be different in the paths chosen to reach their objectives. Sometimes, we simply don't understand or accept these differences, and sometimes we fall into the trap of trying to convince others that our system is better than theirs.
Let me make a totally unrelated example. It's 1998, and I am a PhD student at his second trip to the US. A colleague of mine and I land in New York. Since we are both hungry, we decide to head for the nearest place to the hotel where we can get food: it's a McDonald. We look at the menus, and we find that something is missing. So from the middle of the queue, I ask loudly to one of the clerks: "Hey, do you have beer?". The room falls dead silent and everyone stare at us in disgust. The answer of the clerk is a sharp no, as though he can't even imagine how we dared asking such a thing (in many European countries you can buy beer in McDonalds). A few days later, we received the same look when in a supermarket we had asked where they kept the beers (then, we got the hint ;-) ).
So, it is clear that Europeans and North-Americans do not understand each other when it comes to buying alcohol: for most of Europeans it's quite normal to drink beer while eating a hamburger, or to buy beer, wine, whisky etc. in a supermarket, but for many North-Americans this sounds shocking.
In the same way, I think that there are things that we don't understand of our respective educational systems, and, sometimes, we find it difficult to accept.