You stated “...pretty effective way of making scientific ‘progress.’” Are you serious? Are you trying to make the statement that American schools have made progress even though the Japanese and Indian high school students have out paced American students in tests and college aptitude by almost 2:1?
Make sure you know what you are talking about before you type on that little keyboard thingy next time!
Learning the basics in high school and expanding on those basics in college has been a very effective way of making scientific progress.
Your point seems to be that the Japanese and Indian high schools are more effective in teaching the basics (and those well equipped kids then matriculate to American colleges, where they outperform American high school kids).
I fail to see how further undermining the teaching of basics in American high schools serves to correct this problem.