no ones heard of qs it doesn't even come up on the first page when searching google
Dirk, QS and The Times were one and the same until 2009, so yes, people involved in education have very much heard of QS. According to your favourite source Wikipedia :"Generally, the QS World University Rankings is regarded as one of the three most influential university rankings in the world, along with the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities."
I don't know what kind of search engine you have but the QS rankings come up first with Google when I search. The trick Adrian is to look not at the name of the website, but at who publishes the ranking, thus this site:
is the one for QS and it's the first hit if you search 'top universities in the world' which is what you should be searching for. Of course if you search 'american universities best in the world'.................... :)) Incidentally the CNBC rankings were created by US News??? Basically they made up their own.
I deliberately didn't cite The Times one as it's English and I didn't want to be accused of bias but the Times 2018 world ranking is as follows:
Joint 3rd/4th California Inst of Technology and Stanford
8. Imperial College, London
9. University of Chicago
10. ETH Zurich
The interesting thing is that once you get outside the top twenty, it's a much more mixed bag. 39 of the top 100 are located in the USA, so just over a third, which is what you'd expect given the size and wealth of America. The top 100 represents the top 1% of universities worldwide btw. So anyone who makes it into the top 100 is doing well. But when you break it down by subject area, even humble little Trinity College, Dublin makes it into the top 100 for Arts and Humanities :) Let's take a cross range of subjects:
Archaeology: of the top ten, only three are in America and four of the top five are in the UK.
Medicine: with your chosen university ranking The Times, three of the top five are in the UK.
Computer science: three of the top five are located in Europe, two in the UK.
Arts & Humanities: three of the top five are in the UK.
Of course to some degree rankings have to be taken with a pinch of salt for many reasons - and other than a handful in each part of the world, there is really very little to choose between a university ranked number 30 and one ranked at number 80. To be in the top 100 means it's of the highest standard. Also rankings are not just about the quality of teaching and learning but money and links with industry, research and development etc. Sometimes, for that reason, American universities can offer opportunities to the best of their students that others can't.
But if you compare Stanford (16,000 students, founded 1885) with the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) of Paris (2,500 students, founded 1920) Stanford has 10 Nobel Laureates and the French Uni has 13. Stanford hasn't claimed a single Fields Medal in maths (it's a highly prestigious award from the International Mathematical Union) while the ENS in Paris has 11. So when you say that America has all the top universities the evidence suggests otherwise. Plenty of universities around the world that are as good and better.
As to primary and secondary education, as I say I'm not going to waste my time trying to explain why that matters but I'll just say that somebody shouldn't need to do two years of further general education courses AFTER they finish what's supposed to be basic education. One should leave school with an adequate level of literacy, numeracy, logical thinking skills, study skills, general knowledge and an interest in the world, to prepare you for life.