Nicholas Kristof: Chinese Medicine for American Schools

Kristof, so of course I take it with a grain of salt.

Chinese Medicine for American Schools
Published: June 27, 2006

Visitors to China are always astonished by the new highways and skyscrapers, and by the endless construction projects that make China’s national bird the crane.

But the investments in China’s modernization that are most impressive of all are in human capital. The blunt fact is that many young Chinese in cities like Shanghai or Beijing get a better elementary and high school education than Americans do. That’s a reality that should embarrass us and stir us to seek lessons from China.

On this trip I brought with me a specialist on American third-grade education — my third-grade daughter. Together we sat in on third-grade classes in urban Shanghai and in a rural village near the Great Wall. In math, science and foreign languages, the Chinese students were far ahead.

My daughter was mortified when I showed a group of Shanghai teachers some of the homework she had brought along. Their verdict: first-grade level at a Shanghai school.

Granted, China’s education system has lots of problems. Universities are mostly awful, and in rural areas it’s normally impossible to hold even a primitive conversation in English with an English teacher. But kids in the good schools in Chinese cities are leaving our children in the dust.

Last month, the Asia Society published an excellent report, “Math and Science Education in a Global Age: What the U.S. Can Learn from China.” It notes that China educates 20 percent of the world’s students with 2 percent of the world’s education resources. And the report finds many potential lessons in China’s rigorous math and science programs.

Yet, there isn’t any magic to it. One reason Chinese students learn more math and science than Americans is that they work harder at it. They spend twice as many hours studying, in school and out, as Americans.

Chinese students, for example, must do several hours of homework each day during their summer vacation, which lasts just two months. In contrast, American students have to spend each September relearning what they forgot over the summer.

China’s government has developed a solid national curriculum, so that nearly all high school students study advanced biology and calculus. In contrast, only 13 percent of American high school pupils study calculus, and fewer than 18 percent take advanced biology.

Yet if the Chinese government takes math and science seriously, children and parents do so even more. At Cao Guangbiao elementary school in Shanghai, I asked a third-grade girl, Li Shuyan, her daily schedule. She gets up at 6:30 a.m. and spends the rest of the day studying or practicing her two musical instruments.

So if she gets her work done and has time in the evening, does she watch TV or hang out with friends? “No,” she said, “then I review my work and do extra exercises.”

A classmate, Jiang Xiuyuan, said that during summer vacation, his father allows him to watch television each evening — for 10 minutes.

The Chinese students get even more driven in high school, as they prepare for the national college entrance exams. Yang Luyi, a ninth grader at the first-rate Shanghai High School, said that even on weekends he avoided going to movies. “Going to the cinema is time-consuming,” he noted, “so when all the other students are working so diligently, how can you do something so irrelevant?”

And romance?

Li Yafeng, a ninth-grade girl at the same school, giggled at my question. “I never planned to have a boyfriend in high school,” she said, “because it’s a waste of time.”

Now, I don’t want such a pressured childhood for my children. But if Chinese go overboard in one direction, we Americans go overboard in the other. U.S. children average 900 hours a year in class and 1,023 hours in front of a television.

I don’t think we could replicate the Chinese students’ drive even if we wanted to. But there are lessons we can learn — like the need to shorten summer vacations and put far more emphasis on math and science. A central challenge for this century will be how to regulate genetic tinkering with the human species; educated Chinese are probably better equipped to make those kinds of decisions than educated Americans.

During the Qing Dynasty that ended in 1912, China was slow to learn lessons from abroad and adjust its curriculum, and it paid the price in its inability to compete with Western powers. These days, the tables are turned, and now we need to learn from China.

The Discussion: 28 Comments

Dang, from the title I was thinking some american medical university started teaching the virtues of bear bile in curing random diseases. But I guess the US medical field will acknowledge Chinese medicine right around the same time our soccer team wins the world cup. Never.

The thing is, the Chinese education system is doing exactly what it’s aim is: greating a graduating class fully versed in math and science. But at what cost? Obviously the article talks about lack of spare time, lack of romance. What he doesn’t mention is the incredible inability for Chinese students to think. That, and their maturity level is astoundingly low. It’s even worse in Taiwan, where the populace is educated enough to do the hard scientific work for companies led and guided by the few creative individuals (but mostly foreign firms). There is little room for hands-on problem solving and critical thinking; combined with the incredible study schedule from birth to high school graduation, China is producing a huge populace of sleep-deprived mathmaticians who don’t know what the math is for.

America on the other hand, has the laziest public education system in the world, in my opinion. But our resources are excellent. What does that mean? Well, I asked one of my Taiwanese classmates, who said that the smart americans are incredibly smart, the dumb americans are incredibly dumb. If a student desires to (and if his/her parents encourage it, parental influence is VERY important), they can achieve the same academic standards that a Chinese student can and more, all while keeping the experience and creative thinking that is so hard to find in China. So, what’s the problem? well, American education simply needs to up the ante a bit in public education standards, more homework, more tests, etc, but atleast SOMETHING.

But when it comes down to it, an American student has access to all the knowledge in the world and thus can achieve anything they set their mind to, but can be just as lazy as they would like. Until the mindset of America’s students, parents, and schools change, I don’t expect to see any change.

June 27, 2006 @ 3:00 am | Comment

Down with the US educational system! Up with authoritarianism! up with rote! Up with pressure on kids! Up with learning calculus in third grade! Down with democratic educational values! Down with choice-driven, pluralistic education!

What a fool I am to take my daughter out of Taiwan schools early, when she could be turning into another robot who can solve formulas but cannot find India on a map.


June 27, 2006 @ 3:49 am | Comment

I said at the beginning, it’s kristof, and thus you need to take it with a major grain of sea salt. The guy is a numbskull, and if the topic of his column wasn’t China, I wouldn’t have posted it. All foreign managers in China know what it’s like to work with people who can’t solve problems or do anything beyond what they’re told. How Kristof can be oblivious to this is beyond me.

June 27, 2006 @ 3:56 am | Comment

This Kristof guy seems to get away with writing a lot about the bleeding obvious. Chinese kids study hard, American kids don’t work so hard, but have more educational opportunities. Is that news to anyone? Yes, Chinese society puts a lot of emphasis on learning (or rather on passing exams) and China is already emulating Taiwan with an increasing number of graduates and PhDs … He might have done better to highlight the strange trends in Chinese education: huge numbers of unemployable graduates, the gross overemphasis on engineering and business courses and the dearth of humanities study… on the other hand, western schools and universities (at least here in Australia) are trying to cash in on the Chinese obsession with education. Our universities are happy to take the fee-paying Chinese students but don’t provide extra funding to support the increased numbers.

June 27, 2006 @ 4:38 am | Comment

The problem I see with Kristof is that he keeps on overemphasizing the amount of studying that the Chinese kids do without mentioning that they’re studying useful subjects like math, science, or business/law. I’ve always found the Western emphasis on humanities education quite like the Qing dynasty’s emphasis on Confucian knowledge–it’s quite good to know, but it can introduce a sort of ridiculous dogma into society as a whole (when people take ideas articulated by Locke and somehow use them to justify affirmative action and quota systems for poorer students–much like how the ideas of Confucius were/are used to justify authoritarianism)–leaving that particular society vulnerable to being technologically outclassed and economically outdeveloped.

June 27, 2006 @ 12:24 pm | Comment

Above comments and exceptions to Kristof’s article noted. The question still remains, what can we do to better our schools? The other question is what do we do with a populace with ever greater education and corresponding greater aspirations? It may not be that easy to create those jobs/quality of life “on demand”.

June 27, 2006 @ 3:01 pm | Comment

Most public schools keep kids for long periods of time and teach relatively little during that school day (in some countries kids are taught more subjects, at an earlier age, and spending less of their time doing so: 4 hours versus an average 8 hours in the U.S.). Say what you will about rote learning and the lack of critical thinking taught at Chinese schools, the fact is that many of our high school seniors are very poorly prepared for college (I’ve heard some college professors say that many of their freshmen need to be brought “up to speed” during their first few college years!). Surely we can do better than that!
In part one can understand why many children are not eager to study and learn: though possibly not as rigid as the Chinese system, much of the educational content given is devoid of any practical relevance (the best teachers I’ve had showed us why what we were learning was important and how this information was pertinent to our lives. When material is memorized only to be regurgitated during an exam, it is likely to be useless the minute we pass that exam).
But our educational system is still mostly geared towards educating for manufacturing jobs that are increasingly disappearing, with large public school system whose goal does not seem to end inevitably in college/higher education and a smaller group of elite schools whose ultimate goal is the opposite.

June 27, 2006 @ 3:30 pm | Comment

t_co, I have to disagree with your dismissal of liberal arts education. Liberal arts subjects teach us how to think, how to use our creativity, to problem-solve, how to look at the world in different ways. On a purely practical level, strong writing skills are awfully useful in today’s world, in just about any high-level job. You learn to write by reading, along with writing. And I know there have been studies that correlate reading/writing skills with overall ability to think critically.

June 27, 2006 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

The US colleges are top. The US best school districts are pretty good. The inner cities, are an embarrasment. 50% fail rate in Algebra in LAUSD.

June 27, 2006 @ 10:30 pm | Comment

An UCLA Prof. I met talked about how unprepared a person who came over from a community college (Dominguiz Hills ?). She flunked her first paper, and was in shock, since she had majored in English. He asked how many papers she had written in her JC. Her answer was two in two years.

What an be done in the inner city. Higher expectations, safe schools, better administration, more essay writing, focus on keeping kids in school, curriculumn that is deep, scrap the current teacher accreditation method (a joke, that keeps teaching institutes in business, but does not teach teachers how to teach), instead of only lots of subject areas on a surface level that most students can’t learn without extra work at home, focus on basics in a course. Focus on reading (phonics), writing, and arithmetic before teaching advanced concepts of what is politically correct (whole language). Friedman a while back, had some interesting comments on how the US taught math vs. Singapore.

June 27, 2006 @ 10:42 pm | Comment

before teaching advanced concepts of what is politically correct
Posted by: Ray at June 27, 2006 10:42 PM

Sorry, “politically correct” now means “teaching the controversy” and “intelligent design” as every good Merkin knows.

June 28, 2006 @ 12:04 am | Comment

In part one can understand why many children are not eager to study and learn: though possibly not as rigid as the Chinese system, much of the educational content given is devoid of any practical relevance (the best teachers I’ve had showed us why what we were learning was important and how this information was pertinent to our lives. When material is memorized only to be regurgitated during an exam, it is likely to be useless the minute we pass that exam).

I’ve looked at a lot of curricula over the last three years since I’ve been educating my son at home. All I can say is that this is flat wrong. The 4-5-6th grade curricula I’ve used is very relevant to the world he encounters, and the math seems right at his level — not like Taiwan, where it is much too difficult, and so kids grow to hate it. The social studies covers things he wants to know and is interested in.

Perhaps at the higher levels it is less relevant, but I don’t know.

China’s government has developed a solid national curriculum, so that nearly all high school students study advanced biology and calculus. In contrast, only 13 percent of American high school pupils study calculus, and fewer than 18 percent take advanced biology.

More biology would be good, but calculus is almost useless unless you go into some kind of math-oriented field, in which case it has to be taught anyway. The US educational system is more sensible that way. Instead of calculus, more statistics would be called for, I’d say. I had very little in high school, as I recall.


June 28, 2006 @ 1:53 am | Comment

I would have to disagree with zhuangjia on the “overemphasis on engineering”.
I will tell you quite simply, and don’t take this the wrong way, but the “engineers” that you are graduation (especially electrical) are not getting “good” jobs because their skills are weak.
In the west, a lot of us that work in industry continue to learn after school. Or in my case, before going to college. I have worked with 100’s of engineers in the last 5 years, from some of the top schools in China. And I have met exactly 3 that “had the light on”. I helped those three get high-paying jobs at in SV’s, not because of their English, but they had DRIVE. You can’tteach drive. As long as yo u have people laying their head down for a 2 hour lunch, they’re gonna keep making 100o RMB a moth, for a very long time.

June 28, 2006 @ 3:04 am | Comment

I’ve lived in mainland China for 5 years and it still boggles my mind how people can spend so many hours studying and come out not knowing shit about shit, particularly the high school kids. Even when I try to engage them on subjects they (according to Kristoff) are expert on (biology, hard sciences) I often find the paltry science of my liberal arts education is enough to run circles around them (t_co).

It’s not just that the English teachers can’t speak English, I’m also not so sure the engineers can do engineering.

Also, as a teacher I can tell you that number of hours studying means precisely jack shit compared to the efficiency and efficacy of your study methods.

June 28, 2006 @ 3:10 am | Comment

Hell yes. They do the same thing here — they memorize for the test and then forget it promptly afterwards. And under no circumstances is what they learn in class to be connected to what goes on in the real world. It’s mostly the people who pass through Asia from on high who laud Asian education systems.

Many years ago a U of Michigan researcher wrote a book on how great educational systems here in Asia were, which got quite a lot of play. So I called him and ended up talking to the wife — he wasn’t home. Turns out his Chinese was poor and he’d relied on the schools and his assistants to carry out his testing here. And you know that the schools only sent out their best to take the test….


June 28, 2006 @ 6:16 am | Comment

Is my memory still serving me – did Thomas Frieman say the similar thing? Less English majors, more science majors?

Can both Friedman and Kristof be wrong at same time? If yes, why?

June 28, 2006 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Lots of spot-on comments. I do give the Chinese school system high marks for doing so much with so little, but that’s about all I can say for it.

Chinese schools are memorization sweatshops. They are also typically long on theory, short on application. Worst of all, they completely fail to teach young people how to think. All that intense studying is mostly just memorizing in order to pass tests, after which the information is dumped. The classic example from my field (English): students with large, memorized vocabularies, who struggle mightily to string together the simplest of sentences in casual conversation. They learn to recite, not to speak. What a waste.

Oddly (or maybe not, this is Kristoff), he failed to mention a key hallmark of the Chinese education system: astonishingly rampant cheating, tolerated and even abetted by teachers. If you can get into college, you are virtually assured of graduating. Even theses are often simple cut-n-paste jobs. Small wonder the end result is a nation of plagiarists, pirates and copy-cats.

Occasionally I hear Chinese joke about Americans having poor geography skills. The joking usually ends when I ask the speaker if they are, at that moment, to the east or west of the Pacific Ocean. Surprisingly often the answer is “I don’t know”. North or south of Nanjing Lu (main street of Shanghai)? “I don’t know.” Do you live in the north, south, east, or west part of your district? “Don’t know.”

The diligence of Chinese students can be impressive and inspiring. If their school system some day serves them better, there is no height they cannot reach. However, until that day, the potential of most will go largely untapped. And that is an appalling waste for any society.

June 28, 2006 @ 9:28 am | Comment


We disagree on the topic of relevance of material for those age levels. Maybe the curricula you have is better than what I’ve seen for a current grade A school here (US: Florida, Michigan, and Minnesota). But beyond that, I’ve found that the teacher makes a tremendous difference in the level of interest the student has for a particular subject.
With respect to relevance in higher levels of education (undergraduate, graduate), I can only say that this is a very mixed bag (even considering top public and private institutions).

The few texts/courses on statistics I’ve come across were not good, so I have to add that merely taking that subject in school (high school or higher) does not necessarily make you fluent in the matter (at least not at the level it is taught in many medical schools here). Suffice it to say that I’m not alone in lamenting the quality of biostatistics courses we received during our training. Your experiences with this subject may be much better than mine.

June 28, 2006 @ 9:37 am | Comment

“The joking usually ends when I ask the speaker if they are, at that moment, to the east or west of the Pacific Ocean. Surprisingly often the answer is “I don’t know”. North or south of Nanjing Lu (main street of Shanghai)? “I don’t know.” Do you live in the north, south, east, or west part of your district? “Don’t know.” ”

I would say that’s an exaggeration–and those answers usually come from uneducated Shanghaiese–not the college-educated fellows I’ve talked to.

Furthermore, I’ll agree that Chinese students lack critical thinking skills, but sci/math/business courses can prepare those skills just as well as lib arts courses can (at least in my experience; I majored in Econ and Math)–it all just depends on the teacher (which is why more Western teachers and not FDI need to flow into China).

The problem is not the subject area, but the teaching methodology. But at least I see a trend towards improvement among the upper-level schools in Shanghai.

June 28, 2006 @ 11:03 am | Comment

Slim hits the nail on the head. I wonder why Kristof didn’t talk about how China’s great leap forward in chip design was a high-tech application of the country’s utter disregard for IP rights. Irony time: I asked my econ students to write a paper discussing what can be done to improve China’s IP laws. You all know the punchline to this joke. 90% of the papers were plagiarized.

Another bugaboo of mine that relates to the lack of strong liberal arts education here: how many Chinese students are capable of debating issues in English, or even in Chinese? And I’m not talking about sensitive issues, but simple pro/con topics, like “Should couples cohabit before marriage?” or “Should private cars be restricted?” Students might be able to vividly describe the chemical composition of and manufacturing techniques involved in making a paper bag, but most can’t argue their way out of one.

(Yes, there are exceptions, just as there are Americans who are good at math and science. But I look at the majorities in both countries and sigh.)

June 28, 2006 @ 11:14 am | Comment

The US public school teacher would like to add a few observations to this discussion of differences between Chinese classrooms and US classrooms:

1. Diversity

The US receives one million new immigrants every year. This year I got two new 5th graders who spoke NO English. Each arrived at a different time after the start of the school year, and one of the children had a hearing impairment. Our district gets middle and high school students with little or no English. Something like 25% of all students in K-12 schools in California are Limited English Proficient.

My boss, the head of Bilingual/ESL services, was a longtime teacher for a large Texas school district, where she taught 1) ESL; 2) bilingual English/Spanish 3) Special Education for ESL learners; and 4) bilingual Special Education.

Yes, standard Mandarin is a second language for many Chinese students, but do schools in Beijing, Shanghai, and even small towns have to cope with a constant influx of newcomers with little or no Mandarin and even limited formal schooling?

At my elementary school, a typical classroom of 20 students includes several students with special needs: visually, hearing, and mentally impaired, physically disabled, and autistic kids.

2. home environment

We have some seriously emotionally disturbed children. Our principal and student services coordinator are trained in restraining techniques, and it takes two to three adults to safely restrain a first grader who is out of control. Some of these kids have mothers who took drugs while they were pregnant and who may continue to abuse substances. Others have very unstable homes, moving between parents or from town to town.

2. No Child Left Behind Act

US School districts operate in a maze of local, state, and federal regulations. In 2001, Congress passed and Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act. The purpose was to make schools accountable for the success of every child. School or district overall test scores may hide the gaps between socioeconomic classes and races/ethnic groups, so the NCLB requires schools to publish test score reports to the community and to state and federal depts. of education. These reports break down scores by socioeconomic class and race/ethnicity. ALL groups must meet minimum passing percentages or the school is put on probation. If the scores do not improve, the school may be taken over by the state or federal government.

It all sounds good, except that simply mandating minimum passing scores and throwing a little extra money to tutor at-risk students doesn’t solve the problem of how to help kids from low-income and unstable home backgrounds, especially African-American kids, achieve. There is no test fraud that I’m aware of in my school, but cheating is rife in Texas, where GW introduced this sort of accountability.

The other problem with high stakes NCLB testing is that schools focus their resources on the lowest kids, so average and bright students may not be challenged to do their best. This is more a problem in elementary than middle and high schools, where multi-level subjects separate kids by achievement.

This is so different from schools in Asia, where teachers aim high, the front rows crowded with top achievers and the struggling students relegated to the back. Asian teachers do not individualize instruction; if a student is having a hard time, it’s the parents’ not teacher’s responsibility to provide remedial instruction. Children with special needs are educated in separate schools. We used to do this,too, before mainstreaming and inclusion became the norm.

Most of these comparative education stories and books are written by non-educators, who focus so much on curriculum, ignoring the reality of American public school classrooms. I wonder where Mr. Kristof sends his kids to school.

June 28, 2006 @ 12:28 pm | Comment

One of the kids at my school whose father teaches Russian literature at Rhode Island and who moved to Korea a few years ago due to his obsession with that country contributes to some online blog where he emailed me yesterday after a few years to tell me. One of his articles castigates Kristof’s:

June 28, 2006 @ 5:35 pm | Comment

I disagree with all posts above. Most problems of the world have no real solutions. Presented with a collection of virtues, oftentimes it is not possible to implement all of them.

Let us make approximate definitions. I define here smart people as those who can learn on their own, mediocre people as those who can learn when taught, and substandard people as those who cannot learn even when taught.

It appears reasonable to assume the majority of any society is mediocre. Smart people and substandard people are always few. Of course people don’t fit neatly into three categories — but the generalisation is helpful in analysis.

I shan’t make a big fuss over nature vs. nurture, etc. but let it be known that the only reliable predictor of IQ consists of hereditory factors. Of course, what you do with IQ is another matter all together.

Now, I grew up in Vancouver in Canada, but my early childhood is spent in Hong Kong. I also return to China regularly. Thus I say I have experienced both styles of education first hand.

It appears to me that no one style of education fits smart, mediocre, and substandard people simultaneously. In general, people who are smart enough to learn by themselves don’t like being force-fed information. They thrive when given the freedom to explore subjects of interest. Oftentimes, because of their brilliance and associated eccentricity, they do poorly under enforced standardisation.

Conversely, people who can only learn when taught thrive when course material is presented to them in an explicit format. Nowhere is this more apparent than in my university math courses. Most students take math not because they appreciate abstract structures, but because they have to. Therefore, whenever a professor tries to teach something worthwhile (e.g. real mathematics) to his class, the students resent him and bear secret hatred for him. Conversely, when a professor ignores theory altogether and presents the material in a regurgitated, step-by-step format, the students think he is the jam.

I went to high-school in Vancouver also. Actually I went to 5 different high-schools in Vancouver. I shan’t boast, but very much I consider myself someone who learns on his own. I have taught myself Latin, classical Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Sanskrit, as well as classical Chinese all on my own. Now in grade eleven, I went to a high-school in West Van. Very small classes, almost no homework — and all we spend English class and philosophy class in discussions regularly. And what I do after-school is just read — classical literature, adventure literature…etc. Much progress did I make that year.

Thereafter I went to Churchill in grade twelve. While both West Van and Churchill implemented the IB program, Churchill took a very different style. We had heavy homework load, and we spend classtime investigating examples from textbooks. All the other students loved it — but I didn’t. In the previous year, I regularly felt the joy and tranquillity which comes from self-contemplation. But in grade 12, it felt as though the life-force in me was just draining away.

Now if you have been following you’ll understand what I’m about to say. The North American style of education is lax and full of delightful freedom. Most students clearly don’t learn as much as their counterparts in Asia. But for those people who love knowledge for its own sake, as well as being able to learn on their own, it’s a paradise no less than the paradise to come.

Conversely, in Asia, schools focus on rote-learning and regurgitation. In my opinion, it favours those who are mediocre — clearly they learn more in Asia than in America. True, most of them have no general knowledge, no independent thoughts — but since when has the majority of humanity been rational, thinking creatures? Being able to regurgitate formulas at the minimum is better than not being able to regurgitate formulas and also having no thinking skills.

And now you can’t really teach thinking skills anyhow. Librairies upon librairies of data demonstrate that most people have no conception of logic. Schools which put too much emphasis on thinking skills tend to fail miserably, because thinking skill is not easily-taught.

Well anyhow I have to go have lunch now. Maybe I’ll continue this buncombe of mine some other time.

June 28, 2006 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

I agree with R.’s first comments. Kristoff lives in a journlist’s fantasy world. If he lived on the ground here and worked in an business environment, he wouldn’t be crowing so highly about China’s education system. This isn’t the first article like this he’s written, I gues like Friedman he rehashes a lot of old material…

June 28, 2006 @ 8:14 pm | Comment

I met a few Indians who are very well educated in India and are perfectly capable of independent thinking. Their mental maturity level is also quite high. Hopefully, readers of Indian descent of this blog can enlighten us on India’s education system.

June 29, 2006 @ 8:58 am | Comment

A Public School Teacher comments on mainstreaming bring up a huge issue. I had one class with an ADD child, who I had to spend 1/3rd of my time with. So much for the other students. Or in another class I was a student teacher, where some mainstreamed special ed. students could not keep up with the other students and failed.

The problem I see with education in the US is a lack of common sense and to much political correctness. US Public Schools are built on the mass production model and lack flexibility with all of the laws and regulations that result in a lot of mediocrity.

Japan and Taiwan may not be producing the most innovative thinkers, but at least the majority of students get a good basic education. I see the students being pushed/pressured hard there, where in the US Schools I have seen, the students are not pushed. I am afraid the US Schools are also producing a permanent underclass.

For more information on California Schools, do a google on first to worst, great video from the Merro Report on PBS about how California Schools went from being first in the nation, to the worst.

July 2, 2006 @ 9:13 am | Comment

Here is the link on the Report on California Schools, First to Worst.

July 2, 2006 @ 9:15 am | Comment

To be frank, it sounds like the author of this article was led on a Potemkin Village style tour of Chinese education.

Most Chinese attend poorly equipped and poorly staffed schools where the little emperors can’t be punished for their bad behavior.

Some students never get to go to junior high. Most never get to go to senior high school. And contrary to what this article says, most senior high school students are simply warehoused like cattle at school. Only a few students attending elite schools receive the type of education described here. If we were to compare the average American student to the average Chinese of the same age I thing we would find the American to be in far superior position.

And also where are all the qualifed engineers, scientists, and doctors that are being generated? They don’t exist! In fact many of the people studying science and engineering in China are unqualifed to take up careers related to their majors because of their poor education.

July 3, 2006 @ 9:58 am | Comment

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