Because U.S schools aren't awful, right? Now I see how this all makes sense.
Exactly. If schools were functioning at close to an optimal level, these advertising campaigns would be totally ineffective. But this bit of wisdom is still true.
Seymour Papert did some very interesting work in the 70s -- part of this involved the creation of the Logo programming language/environment. But the more important piece of his research, IMHO, was the argument (totally ignored, as far as I can tell) that education should be remade to focus on individual students incrementally (re)constructing knowledge. How many 2-5th graders learn geometry this way?
There are valuable alternatives to the complete package that Microsoft is selling, but more-of-the-same is not one of them.