I've thought about this a lot, and I think its primarily a cross-cultural problem. And part of a general cross-cultural problem that's afflicting Orthodoxy as it tries to adapt in America. Essentially, Orthodoxy is struggling to find a distinctively American way to express itself that doesn't compromise the Faith. And I don't think we've found it yet. Most groups tend to err either on the side of trying to look more Protestant on the one hand, or on the other, insisting upon particular customs from Russia or Greece or wherever in order to be 'really' Orthodox.
Orthodox monasticism has never been monolithic. It has always adapted itself in each culture to which it has come. Two of the greatest works of Orthodox piety were written by St. John Cassian for this very purpose. Particularly in his 'Institutes of the Coenobitic Life', he discusses the differences between Palestinian and Egyptian monasticism in his time, and then gives guidelines for applying these principles in Western Europe. He would favor one practice over the other, and in some cases would have to radically adapt or discard elements that simply wouldn't work. (For example, he had to largely revise the monastic habit, as the climate of the Scetis is rather different than that of France and Germany). As a result, the monasteries founded by he and St. Benedict were not the same as those of the Scetis, which weren't the same as those of Palestine, which differed later from Mt. Athos, which differed from the Russian monasteries, all of which were somewhat different than the Studion, etc. etc.
That's factor one. Factor two is that some cultural expressions that are perfectly acceptable in other cultures are not acceptable in ours. For example, if a typical American man walked into one of our churches, saw two men standing close together, holding hands, and talking, and then one of them ran over and kissed him on both cheeks, he would probably get the wrong idea.
All that is to say, I think the 'Ephraim Problem' is just the flip side of the 'New Skete Problem'. The Ephraimite monasteries are fully functioning, normal Athonite monasteries. But I don't know that Athonite monasticism is a good fit with American culture. We have to have empathy for the way the surrounding culture perceives us. The Gospel is enough of a stumbling block and scandal, we don't need to create more. Lets put ourselves in their place:
Imagine that one of your children, as a teenager, decided to convert to a Protestant group that you knew very little about. Not long after converting, he went to live in a compound with a bunch of other members. The leadership there forbade your son or daughter from having any contact with you whatsoever, and told them that their salvation hinged upon their obedience to the leaders of the group.
You would think your son or daughter had joined a cult. You and I may have a greater understanding of what Athonite monasticism is about, but the average American, even the average ethnically Orthodox American doesn't. This is the core of the problem, and its the core of why the AOCA is dubious of starting monasteries in America at this point.
As mentioned above, the other end of the spectrum is New Skete, which seems to have gone out of its way to Americanize itself, thereby causing many to question whether they've lost critical parts of Orthodox Piety. I think its wise to put deliberate effort into formulating an American Orthodox monasticism and make that the basis of our monastic institutions.