Although the US is 37th in education and it is appalling, with China being at the top of education, China will never be able to be as inventive as the US.
Why? Because in order to truly be inventive you have to be able to be free to question everything, especially dogmas like oppressive religions and or things like the Chinese national government state dogma, with no real option for dissent. You need to have a free mind that is clear of issues that obstruct your thinking and life style to be highly innovative. You need to be able to question everything.
Although China is good at imitation and product development and is good at teaching math and science as it is and music and art as it is and has been; The elements that go into innovation cannot happen, because you actually need the time to daydream and let your mind wonder, to be inventive.
The problem in the US in education, is not so much the time put into it, but the whole structure. It too has it's busywork, but the fact that the child can have gobs of free play time is important. Most importantly, Americans can protest and question everything without reprisals for the most part. Even though religions here try to obstruct the questioning of religion and its version of history and scientific facts, it does not have free rain over us, at least not yet. So there are a couple of clear possibilities with always other surprises to see who will come out on top. China can change its dogmatic regimented governmental imposition on its people and allow more free play time for its children and enable their children's imagination, or the US can teach subjects in a more creative way and free or low cost higher education, still allowing free time, but also introducing the principals of visionary thinking. Of course, wouldn't it be nice if both were true and we all went on our creative merry ways into a bright future.
When you take a Mindmavericks.org workshop, you will understand perfectly what I am talking about.