High schools especially, the amount of work is beyond ridiculous. The fact that high schools encourage you to be involved in extra cirricular activities, have a social life, get a considerable amount of sleep, and be a good student, is so much to ask for. Think about it, if a student has say a sport after school for about 3 hours, and homework for 4 acedemic classes and a foreign language/elective (varies), and any long term projects or tests to study for, that's a good 3-4 or possibly 5 hours depending on the students capability of staying focused and the work that is assigned. Also, I think we should change some courses to be optional, and put some mandatory courses in that actually teach students vital life lessons rather than learning pointless chemistry or geometry that I'm sure 90% of students will never need to know for the rest of their lives.
People around the world tend to criticize the American education system quite frequently and it must be because it needs to be reformed. I do like to believe that there are at least some good schools left but I also believe that there are even more bad schools that need to be reformed.
The fact of the matter is the American education system produces probably the most college students in this world, not every child is going to take full advantage of the American Education system sure, but that applies to any education system anywhere in the world. The point of it is to give a fair opportunity to all children who live in this country, and to show them many possibilities for career options. To give them a fair and free chance to work in many subjects in the off chance they find they are talented, or interested deeply in one to want to continue with it in the future leading them to a career they will enjoy.