Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 4/5

September 11, 2011

NPR explored, Are U.S. Schools Really Falling Behind China?

To answer this question, Michele Norris was the host for National Public Radio when she interviewed Vivien Stewart, the Asia Society Senior Adviser for Education, who argued that the US “has reason to be worried”.

Steward said, “I talk to (American) parents about turning off the television, turning off the video games, and if their students spent as much time studying as they did playing video games, we’d easily be at the level of the highest performing countries in the world.”

“China has very high standards,” Stewart says, “largely focused on math and science, a strong core curriculum that all students have to take. In the U.S., we have standards that vary all over the place, by state and by district. Students can opt out of harder courses.”

Aaron Brown opens the third segment of this PBS: Wide Angle documentary on high school education in China with the words of Jiacheng, a student that says, “If I didn’t study hard these last few years, I’d probably be working in a factory earning very little and I would be exhausted.”

If you have forgotten, it was in Part Three that we discovered Jiacheng had won/earned a silver medal in the national mathematic Olympiad and was accepted to one of China’s most prestigious universities considered equal the Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford or Caltech.

Moreover, this is the way life should be.   Those who work hardest and achieve the most should earn the highest rewards.

Jiacheng’s mother simply explains how this happened. “His teacher told him what to do. He told him what to study.”  The rest was up to Jiacheng.  The teacher could not do the studying and learning for him as many American students and critics of public education expect of public school teachers in the United States.

Let’s not forget that we have learned that high school students in China often study 16 hours a day while the average US student divides more than 10 hours a day between watching TV, listening to music, hanging out at the mall socializing, spending time social networking on Internet Sites such as Facebook, playing video games, and sending meaningless text messages.

In this segment, Aaron Brown emphasizes the importance of China’s national exam taken near the end of senior high school at age 18.  The results of this exam will decide who attends college and who ends up working as a common low paid laborer.

Continued on September 12, 2011 in  Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 5 return to Part 3


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on  it then follow directions.

Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 2/5

September 9, 2011

PBS Wide Angle reports on what it takes to be number one in China. Watching this four-part series may shock you when compared to the average US child and how they study (or don’t), behave and what they believe.

Aaron Brown of PBS: Wide Angle says, “Imagine for a moment that the most important decisions about your future will be made by the time you reach seventeen.”

The reason for this is that in China, merit counts more than anything and most children and people compete to earn the right to move up. Success is not promised as if it is a guarantee.  In China, reality is a fact not a fantasy as it is in the US.

In the real world, there are winners and losers and not every one can be a winner. Even in the US, the facts say that not every one wins even if self-esteem driven parents often tell their children that dreams come true.

In China’s senior high schools during the senior year, the only time students have to socialize is during meals. There is no television, no Internet access and no common room. Even extra-curricular activities such as sports are banned and dating is not allowed.

The reason why Chinese students accept these Spartan rules is that social class is a reality in China as it is in the rest of the world.

However, social class is a controversial issue in the United States, having many competing definitions, models, and even disagreements over its existence.

Many Americans believe in a simple three-class model that includes the “rich”, the “middle class”, and the “poor”. More complex models describe as many as a dozen class levels, while still others deny the very existence, in the strict sense, of “social class” in American society. Source: Social class in the United States

In other words, “politically correct” Americans pretend there is no social class and everyone is equal.

Pay close attention to what Aaron Brown says in this PBS Wide Angle report.

What he doesn’t say is that mandatory education in China only goes to age 15 but by age 12, about half of Chinese students have already dropped out of the public school system. Students that go on to the senior high school education system want to be there and compete.

However, in the United States, education is mandatory from age 5 or 6 to 18, and it doesn’t matter if you want to be there or not.  You must attend or else and when students do not want to be there and US public school teachers fail to motivate these students to learn, the teachers are the ones blamed by conservative critics.

However, no matter how much politically correct Americans ignore the reality of social class, there are still more than 40 million Americans living in poverty, and CBS News reported, “The top-earning 20 percent of Americans – those making more than $100,000 each year – received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S.”

Continued on September 10, 2011 in Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 3 or return to Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.