America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 3/5

December 11, 2011

DailyKos.com says, “American’s won’t work 12 hour days , $5 an hour for seven days a week.”

However, many Chinese will and they will work more than one job while saving between 30 to 50 percent of what they earn while sacrificing sleep.

However, in 1973 after graduating from college on the GI Bill (working nights and weekends), my first job was working 12 or more hours a day sometimes six and seven days a week on a salary without overtime.

Change.org says, “Despite high unemployment, Americans won’t work as farmhands. Have you ever read John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, which is about two caucasion drifters working as farmhands moving from farm to farm to survive? at 112 pages, it is a small book and I recommend it.

The Center for Immigration Statistics tells us what the jobs are that educated Americans won’t work at. CIS says, “Of the 465 civilian occupations, only four are majority immigrant. These four occupations account for less than 1 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Moreover, native-born Americans comprise 47 percent of workers in these occupations.

“These high-immigrant occupations are primarily, but not exclusively, lower-wage jobs that require relatively little formal education.

“In high-immigrant occupations, 57 percent of natives have no more than a high school education. In occupations that are less than 20 percent immigrant, 35 percent of natives have no more than a high school education. And in occupations that are less than 10 percent immigrant, only 26 percent of natives have no more than a high school education.”

With no choice, American born citizens will work jobs most educated Americans refuse to do.

In fact, in October 2011, the New York Times reported about a Colorado farmer that decided to hire locally unemployed Americans instead of immigrant labor.  It took the farmer six hours to learn he had made a mistake.  At lunchtime, the first wave of local workers quit and never came back. Some of the workers said the work was too hard.

Since Chinese value education and work harder than most to earn one, they tend to stay in school longer.  In fact, Asian-Americans  had the lowest unemployment rate of all ethnicities. In 2010, 12.5% of Hispanic or Latino, 10% of African-Americans , 8.7% of Whites but only 7.5% of Asian-Americans were unemployed.

Continued on December 12, 2011 in America’s Lost Work Ethic and the End of its global Exceptionalism – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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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.

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

September 12, 2011

Aaron Brown introduces the fourth segment of this PBS: Wide Angle documentary on high school education in China, showing parents waiting anxiously for their children as the exams end.

Brown says that the students will not find out how they did for weeks after the test. He then tells us the results for each of the students the documentary focused on.  We learn that the results of the exam decide the college each student will attend.  The highest scores go to the top colleges while lower scores go to lower rated universities.

The high school, senior class president, scored high enough to fulfill her dream and went on to attend one of China’s top two colleges where she will study journalism.

She says, “When I was studying so hard, I thought the most important thing was freedom. You cannot demand freedom from this society, your school or even your own family. You must rely on yourself to find your freedom. If you can set your own heart free, than nothing can stop you.”

After learning the future of these students, Aaron Brown sits down to interview Professor Vanessa Fong, assistant professor of education at Harvard University, whose work has focused on Chinese youth and identity.

Brown starts out saying, “People (Americans/Westerners) that watch the film will say that it is almost inhumane how hard they drive these kids, how much pressure is on them, how much discipline is expected of them—all of that. How do they see Western education?”

Professor Fong replies, “When they are kids, they really envy it.” While doing her research in China, the Chinese students often asked her what American teenagers do. She answered, “They spend half their day at school but the other half they are playing sports or in school plays or hanging out with their friends or go out and party.”

The response from Chinese students, “That would be so nice.”

Aaron Brown questions the Chinese system and Professor Fong defends it by saying, “The exam system is the one level playing field most of them will see in their lives and that is why they value it. It is a place where the children of poor farmers and the children of high officials can compete on a level playing field without anyone knowing their name on a mostly multiple choice, objectively graded national  test anonymously.”

Brown asks if this is true and Professor Fong says it is true.  She says the fairness of this exam is so secret that any kind of corruption is likely to be crushed and one case of corruption could cause a major upheaval (riots and protests) in China that would probably sweep the nation.

Now that we have discovered how serious earning an education is in China, we now know that the title of a series such as this on American education may be titled, “Wanted in the United States – high self-esteem and lots of fun”.

Return to Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 4 or start with Part 1

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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 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 3/5

September 10, 2011

According to Alexa Olesen of the Associated Press, women are now a big part of the competitive education system in China.

Olesen says, “In 1978, women made up only 24.2 percent of the student population at Chinese colleges and universities. By 2009, nearly half of China’s full-time undergraduates were women and 47 percent of graduate students were female, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“In India, by comparison,” Olessen says, “women make up 37.6 percent of those enrolled at institutes of higher education, according to government statistics.”

Aaron Brown of PBS Wide Angle reports how talented Chinese students that cannot afford to pay for senior high school earn scholarships from the government. Attending high school on scholarship in China means living in dorms.

Brown says, “Although China is now working toward developing its students creativity, its educational system is traditionally geared toward rote learning. Students are tested on how well they have memorized their textbooks and teacher’s lectures.”

One student in the PBS documentary, Gao Mengjia, says she studies daily for sixteen hours, sleeps for six and eats for one to two hours.

                     

Another route to the top is to win a medal in a competition such as the National Mathematic Olympiad. Winning a gold or silver may lead to acceptance at one of China’s top universities.

In China, senior high school students may come from high ranked parents that are members of the Communist Party and who have traveled abroad to Europe/America

Through merit, peasant children from rural Chinese families that earn about $2,000 annually—enough to put food on the table for a large family (note: in most of rural China there is no property tax or mortgage to pay, since the land is owned by the village and government and may not be bought or sold)—may attend the same schools.

One sign of China’s merit based educational system are the number of women successful in private business.  Of the world’s 14 self-made women billionaires, six are Chinese (according to Forbes) while only three are from the United States.  Source: The Richest.org

In addition, China’s National People’s Congress, women make up 21.3% of the representatives while in the United States and India, the world’s two largest democracies, women fill about 10% of the seats in India and about 17% in the United States.

This goes to prove that success through merit does pay off compared to leveling the playing field with quotas.

Continued on September 11, 2011 in Wanted in China – “an education” – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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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.


Education in the Real World – Part 2/2

September 6, 2011

Compulsory education in China for primary education is from ages 6 to 12, and in 2001, there were 121 million students enrolled in this system.

Unlike the United States, almost half of those 121 million students dropped out of school at age 12 or entered vocational training, while the other half went on to the junior secondary education system, which educates ages 12 to 15.

Another 54.8 million children drop out of China’s education system at the end of the junior secondary system at age 15.

China’s senior education system educates about 12 million students ages 15 to 18, which means China’s top 10% of all students, while in America, the public schools are still struggling to teach 90% of the children that started school at age 6, and about a third are not interested for a variety of reasons such as the self-esteem parenting movement, hunger or safety.

In China, to be accepted into the senior education system, students must take an entrance test called the ‘Zhongkao’, which is the Senior Secondary Education Entrance Examination held annually in China to distinguish junior graduates.

While exams in China compare students so only the best move on, exams in America do not do this. Instead, exams in the US are used to measure the success of schools and teachers, and students are not treated as failures no matter what their score.

When a student fails in the US, the teacher is often blamed—not students or parents.

However, China’s school system operates mostly on meritocracy so only the best students move on, while the US keeps every student until age 18 no matter what their academic performance, attitude toward education or classroom behavior is.

The reason so many students are kept in the American education system is that there is no competition among students to succeed since the system is designed to make it look as if all students are equal.  Often, one student graduates at age 18 reading at a 4th grade level, while another from the same class graduates reading at the university level and these two students may have been taught in the same classrooms by the same teachers.

America does this so students will not be embarrassed or feel bad about themselves. Instead of failing the student, the US fails the teacher for what the student did not learn even if the student did not study.

In China, if a student stays in school and makes it into college, he or she can be assured to be ready for university work but in the United States over half of high school graduates cannot do university work and must take remedial classes before enrolling in university courses.  This creates a huge economic burden on America’s economy due to a majority of Americans refusing to accept reality that countries such as China accepted long ago.

Return to Education in the Real World – Part 1

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This edited and revised post originally appeared on August 8, 2011, at Crazy Normal as Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 4

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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.