Sunday, June 12, 2011
Chinese Schools Let Down Education Reform Movement
It is with great disappointment that I read Chinese leaders wish to change the way that the country does education. For years, the thought of Chinese students exploiting our inferior American students has been a great image for those of us in the education reform movement. Thoughts of Chinese scholars with briefcases and laptops taking American jobs has been even more effective than images of Chinese tanks rolling down main street for education reformers.
Now China has embarked on a "ten year plan including greater experimentation. China Central Television's main evening news program recently reported on Peking University High School's curricular reforms to promote individuality and diversity."
Individuality and diversity? Good grief. Where is the army of tiger mothers when we need them most. Shanghai is actually studying the American school system in order to import Western curriculum to their country. If this continues, what hope is there for their students?
There was a report on NPR's marketplace last week that talked about Chinese schools. The sterm taskmaster Jiang Xueqin was quoted as saying, "They just started the rock band. To be perfectly honest with you, I've heard them. They're not very good, but it's something they love doing and it's fun for them" Where is the drive for excellence? The endless hours of practicing Louie Louie over and over? That is what a Chinese high school rock band should be like.
Chinese officials say they are developing a nation of uncreative accountants and middle managers through rote memorization and lack of creative thinking, but they need to think of the big picture. What about those of us in America who look to China to set an example for us of endless rigor, tiger moms, and the pursuit of excellence? China has a responsibility not only to itself, but to us to continue rote memorization and teaching to the test. Otherwise, we in America look pretty stupid pushing those same policies.