It seems that the greatest hindrance that high school students face in becoming educated is, well, their high school: Christian science Monitor, Dec. 15, 2006, "What if the solution to American students' stagnant performance levels and the wide achievement gap between white and minority students wasn't more money, smaller schools, or any of the reforms proposed in recent years, but rather a new education system altogether?"
Essentially, high school as we know it would change to a system that tested and pushed kids after the 10th grade into college or vocational school. Teachers would give up tenure for better wages, and students would have to let go of high school culture and start looking at their career paths. As a bonus, schools would be better funded and independent; thus, politicians would have to quit looking at schools as a jobs or patronage program.
You can read the actual report, "America's Choice: high skills or low wages," but be warned that it is on a 40 MB PDF file. It appears that HTML coding skills are in short supply in America.