Be careful what you wish (work) for…….

Today, I picked up on an article in the News Journal while I read it at break; Academic adventurers-Chinese students branch out to small Del. Schools.
Well being involved with Education as I am several thoughts came to mind as our Governor just returned from China, and has been talking up a storm about how much we can LEARN from the Chinese. A Fellow Blogger who also spotlights Educational issues, http://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/american-universities-offer-gold-standards-for-foreign-student/Also came up with a few questions as he read the article, and I thought they were worth repeating here,
Why are the Chinese coming to America to learn? I though we were so far behind that we needed to model our education system after China.
He also points out that,
“American undergraduate and graduate education is seen as the gold standard by these parents, who feel that a U.S. education will be the best preparation for a career in the global economy.” Yet America’s “gold standards” aren’t good enough for Arne Duncan and Jack Markell.
My need for the truth and knowledge kicked in and I just had to look at this Education system in China that both our State and Federal governments keep pushing as the Global Leaders. By the way from the NJ article here is a graphic of how many foreign students are spending time in our higher education institutions:
Top three countries sending college students to the United States in 2009-10
1. China 127,628
2. India 104,897
3. South Korea 72,153
Interesting how the top two are where our dollars are going in either direct financial transactions or jobs outsourced! Well let me shed some light on the way of the Chinese Education system as it stands today. First, the education is divided into three categories: basic education, higher education, and adult education. The Compulsory Education Law of China stipulates that each child have nine years of formal education. (So middle school is the last required grade level)
You can read the full picture about the Chinese Education system at http://www.edu.cn/english_1369/index.shtml

An interesting piece that also sets the US apart from China is that:
Basic education in China includes pre-school education, primary education and regular secondary education.
Preschool, or kindergarten, can last up to three years, with children entering as early as age three, until age six, when they typically enter elementary school. Secondary education is divided into academic secondary education and specialized/vocational/technical secondary education.
Lower middle school graduates wishing to continue their education take a locally administered entrance exam, on the basis of which they will have the option either of continuing in an academic upper middle school or of entering a vocational secondary school. Vocational schools offer programs ranging from two to four years and train medium-level skilled workers, farmers, and managerial and technical personnel. Technical schools typically offer four-years programs to train intermediate technical personnel. “Schools for Skilled Workers” typically train junior middle school graduates for positions requiring production and operation skills. The length of training is typically three year.

Mr. Duncan, and Mr. Markell, I’d also like to point out a real import difference about our Education system and China’s:
“This Law is formulated, in accordance with the Constitution and the actual conditions in China, for the purpose of promoting elementary education and the building of a socialist society that is advanced culturally and ideologically as well as materially.”

I’m sorry but last time I looked we had a Democracy in the US, although I have heard some folks in Washington continue to lean just a little towards Socialist Ideals! Don’t get me wrong there are pieces of the Chinese system we could use here since the State and Federal authorities have lost sight of critical ideas that improve learning. First, the state, the community, schools and families shall, in accordance with the law, safeguard the right to compulsory education of school-age children and adolescents. Then, under the leadership of the State, local authorities shall assume responsibility for compulsory education, and local governments shall establish primary schools and junior middle schools at such locations that children and adolescents can attend schools near their homes.

Then Governor, as you get ready to think about how to cut Education budgets again think about how what follows could be possible reasons why the Chinese system works so well. “The State and the local governments shall be responsible for raising funds for the operating expenses and capital construction investment needed for the implementation of compulsory education, and the funds must be fully guaranteed. State appropriations for compulsory education shall increase at a faster rate than regular state revenues, and the average expenditure on education per student shall also increase steadily. The state shall subsidize those areas that are unable to introduce compulsory education because of financial difficulties.
The state shall assist areas inhabited by minority nationalities to implement compulsory education by providing them with teachers and funds.

The last two pieces I want to comment on as I’ve gotten long winded is Chinese accountability that we could learn from as well, and let’s hope the folks in Dover are listening.
“Teachers should be respected by the public. The state shall safeguard the teachers’ lawful rights and interests, and take measures to raise their social status and improve their material benefits. It shall reward outstanding educational workers.” And “. In cases where school-age children or adolescents do not enroll in school and receive compulsory education, with the exception of those who, on account of illness or other special circumstances, are allowed not to go to school, the local government shall admonish and criticize the parents or guardians of those children or adolescents, and adopt effective measures to order them to send the children or wards to school.”

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About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
This entry was posted in Delaware Politics, Education. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Be careful what you wish (work) for…….

  1. Frederika says:

    It is so easy to overlook a few details and facts when one wants to convey a message to the general public. Which newspaper reader or radio listener is actually going to stop and carefully think about the dissimilarities between Communist China and the United States of America? The administrations at both the state and federal levels are counting on the exact opposite–that folks will NOT think this through, will not seek additional facts or background and will only remember the message: The Chinese are gaining on us and even surpassing us, and, gosh darn it, it’s all because our schools and students cannot compete. OBviously, the educational experience is vastly different in China than in the good old U. S. of A. However, they will also say that these differences do not matter–that it is the final outcome and bottom line that matter.

  2. Erin says:

    Perhaps parents from other countries send their children to the United States for Education because the CONTENT and CURRICULUM that is offered IS OF A GOOD QUALITY. Maybe the problem lies in the attitude of the U.S Native Born students towards that curriculum: if a person does not value learning or value education, no matter how great the curriculum is, it will be worthless.

    • Wolfe Gary says:

      Erin,
      Myself and many others have been expressing these same thoughts for sometime, and yet our policy makers in Dover and Washington don’t see it. The attitude problem however is not just native born students, but is any student who does not have a support system (parent, guardian, etc.) that takes the time to show the importance of education! I would like to add that I believe we have good educators out there, but if the support is there and a student wants to learn then there still needs to be in place a system to remove poor educators and hold them accountable also.

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