This article outlines some of the substantial differences between US and European universities, and they go much deeper than the much-lampooned "climbing walls." (I'm pretty sure that European universities could add a gym for, well, the price of a gym membership.) There are differences in the educational model and the socialization provided. These differences are not just recent things; in the 19th century (and earlier) US academics were noting that our universities and colleges offer undergraduate education at a lower level than their European counterparts. All of this has happened before and will happen again.
If you want giant lecture classes and sink-or-swim academic models, with physics taught at a far more rigorous level than we currently do it, believe me, that can be provided, and it can be provided more cheaply than the current model. I am positively salivating at the thought of offering it. Shit, I'll take a pay cut to offer it. I have a list of students to fail, and they include YOUR favorite students. Yes, I'm talking to YOU. Your precious little offspring who gets B+ and A- grades in a California k-12 school? Your poster child for your grant-funded program? This One Student who is getting mostly B's but is So Nice And Friendly? I'll give all of them F's. ALL OF THEM!!!
Anyway, whether you prefer the US model or the European model depends on what you want from a system, but realize that the differences in educational model are directly related to the differences in funding model.