In light of several recent posts we have had relating to Shaun Rein (see, e.g., this one on how to mend relations between West and China), I thought some of us might actually want to meet someone with intelligent things to say … face to face.
Here is a recent video of Shaun on CNBC sharing some his observations on current events in China. On a blog, this is as close as we can get to “face to face.”
First of all, Amy Chua is a professor at Yale Law School and author of a number of books. Her daughters are already accomplished musicians. By all accounts, her family epitomizes an American dream come true.
Her article, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” in the WSJ has already elicited 2700+ comments, probably a new record for the paper. Let’s just say, there are many more upset American moms today than there were just two days ago. Here, a Boston Herald mom writes:
Chua’s premise: “Western” moms — her euphemism — are permissive and raising a nation of losers. Chinese-American mothers are strict and produce intellectual rock stars.
There is no gift better than the gift of education. As 2010 is soon coming to a close, some of you may be considering where to make donations. My favorite charity is the China Youth Development Foundation’s Project Hope (希望工程). In terms of scale and impact, it is one of the top charities in the world. In recognition for how critical Project Hope is to alleviating poverty in China and to provide equal opportunities to all, Deng Xiaoping wrote the calligraphy, “希望工程,” which became part of the logo for the organization.
Question: In your opinion, are teachers in the US given enough latitude to teach effectively?
IDEA (a law for programs for students with disabilities), Title I (a part of a law for programs for economically disadvantaged students), our equal opportunity laws and even, to a certain extent, the No Child Left Behind law, as well as many other laws and influences have created a system that does a good job at providing the basics (except computer basics ) to almost all students. In doing that, we’ve made teachers’ jobs much harder (though it’s worth it). Continue reading Interview with Dr. Edwina Pendarvis (III): Teacher and Parent Roles in Education→
Recently there has been much discussion in both China and the US about the advantages or disadvantages of education in both countries. For instance, Mr. Robert Compton made a movie called 2 Million Minutes, which advocates learning from China and India in its K12 education. Views by Mr. Compton was largely rejected by scholars such as Dr. Zhao from Michigan State University who suggests the US system is doing fine while the Chinese one needs reform. In the meantime, someone in China seems to have forged an article by Benno C. Schmidt, Jr., former President of Yale, attacking Chinese higher education as basically a joke. If that article showed anything, it indicates extreme dissatisfaction with the Chinese educational system.
Here is something interesting I found on Youtube. For all the talk about China spreading propaganda and indoctrinating their children – you know teaching children about the greatness of their nation, their leader, their history … about the importance of social harmony … instilling hope for a better future – does the U.S. really look that different?
It’s surreal to hear Dr. Zhao from China working in the US defending the US educational system while Mr. Compton advocating that the US learn from China’s system. One thing is for sure: the world is getting flat.
The rest are open to debate.
As I watched this debate, a story that came to mind was the meteorologist forecasting a severely cold winter after seeing Indians hording chopped wood, while the Indian got the idea from the meteorologist who had suggested earlier that the winter would probably be cold. This happens when you make comparisons between two moving targets. In recent years, China is learning from “developed countries” such as US itself, ways to move away from the test-driven education system toward more “rounded education”. I am a reviewer of an educational journal in China and I constantly find papers describing “US experiences” and their implication for China. In the meantime, school curriculum is including an increasing number of subjects that Mr. Compton might be laughing at, such as life skills training. And here we are: Mr. Compton told us that the US should learn from China. Now what? Continue reading Reflections on the Compton-Zhao Debate→
[Central News Agency] Deputy Minister of Education Lu Muling says, if the legislature is able to complete legal revision on university, professional studies, and cross-strait civic interaction, mainland students should be able to come to Taiwan for master’s and PhD classes next spring.
Lu Muling clarified the issues around mainland students studying in Taiwan during a press conference.
As to undergraduate study, Lu says that has to wait until next fall.
Enrollment will gradually expand, with yearly cap of 2,000; Ministry of Education will form a committee to accept school’s plan for accepting mainland students. Once approved by the committee they can start admission.
Lu stresses that, mainland student enrollments are extra allocations that will not compete with local students. Also the 2,000 head count is small compared to 30,000 foreign and expat students.
Education is important to China’s future, and education reform has been a long drawn-out complex process, which people of all stripes agree has basically been inadequate. From the early days of Project Hope corruption to the current education spending that still hasn’t reached the 4%-of-GDP target set by the central government, people have much to complain about. Among all the problems, one most depressing had to have been that basic primary/secondary education required all kinds of fees and therefore no universal access to education existed.
Party members and public servants working in the Tibet autonomous region were given an ultimatum on July 14 to call back their children within two months from overseas schools and monasteries run by the “Dalai clique”, the International Herald Leader (IHL), owned by the Xinhua News Agency, said Wednesday.
Under a regulation drawn up by the regional Party and government disciplinary inspection commissions, which was released last week, those who fail to do so will be expelled from the Party and removed from their posts, the IHL report said.
This LA Times articles provides the basic details:
But one faculty member, Compton recalled, told him that “we have nothing to learn from Third World education.” Another, renowned education theorist Howard Gardner, took him to task for comparing the U.S. with China.
“His point was: How can you have a great educational system when you don’t have freedom of speech?” Compton said. Compton saw the remark as missing the point: America may not have anything to learn from China’s one-party political system, but it might want to know why Chinese students do better in math and science.
The full story on this situation isn’t quite so simple; there are many in China deeply unsatisfied with the Chinese education system. But the topic is certainly worthy of debate (see earlier thread on 50 years of gaokao).
As many might know, this weekend was the 3-day university admissions test (gaokao). For decades, all Chinese children have studied for this test as if their life depended on it… and for decades, it really did. For those living in a culture that has long treasured the value of academic study, and a country with a planned economy, receiving a university degree has meant literally everything. If we look back even further in history, ever since the Tang dynasty (700 AD), education has been the primary method for advancing yourself in society.
With the help of a post from Tianya (原贴, originally from Xinhua), here are the national essay topics used over the last 50 years. Read the questions and the years carefully enough, and you’ll get a hint of Chinese society as it has dramatically changed over the last 60 years:
1951: My work outside of the classroom; discuss advantages of increasing production and conservation.
1952: Remember a new person’s new event; throwing myself into the motherland’s embrace.
1953: Write about a revolutionary cadre you’re familiar with; remembering the person I’m most familiar with. Continue reading Essay topics: 50 years of Gaokao→