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.

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