This may qualify as the most dishonest thing to come out of American educators in a long, long time. To compare a few of our top schools to the AVERAGE scores of other countries is not merely disingenuous--it is intentionally misleading and flat out dishonest. Americans should expect and demand more from those who are teaching children.
The honest approach requires that you compare our top schools to the top schools of the countries which scored higher than us, AND those which scored lower. What we already know from the distribution of the data from the 1995 TIMSS test, and what you are thus concealing, is that there are many countries which had a lower average score, but whose top tenth percentile scored higher than our top tenth percentile.
You doubled the crime by omitting from the comparison scores for students in private, religious, and home schools. We know why you did that--private school students score a complete grade higher than students of the same age in public schools, and home school students score two letter grades higher. In other words, 9th grade private school students score at a level equivalent to 10th grade public school students, and 9th grade home school students score at a level of 11th grade public school students.