After having watched the PBS “China Prep”, I thought about what could be learned for the average school board member in the United States. The first thing I thought of was that every school board should watch this film. The concept that we are preparing our kids to compete in a global world market rather than at a local level on the football field is one we should all adopt. Many people in the USA seem to have tunnel vision when it comes to educating children. The idea of what a person is going to do after they graduate seems less important than the momentary glory of a two foot trophy for being the best on the junior high basketball court. More emphasis should be placed on the academic part of American education. There is too much money and too much attention paid to what should be extra-curricular activities.
There is nothing wrong with a kid having a well-rounded education that includes sports and art, but if we celebrated the scores of math tests the way we celebrate soccer scores, then we could teach our kids the reality of what the working world actually expects from them. On the flip side, I think I would break the testing for graduation into more than one huge make it or break it exam. Perhaps giving the subject matter individual tests, such as math, English, etc., with a break of a week or so in between would be less stressful. I also think there should be a second chance for those who do not make the grade. Perhaps a year later, the students could be allowed to take the testing again. If they cannot make the grade, then they would obviously not be as attractive to the best colleges. For the most part, I see more right concepts in the mindset of the Chinese people and their education process than I discern “bad” practices. As a nation, they are banding together to mine their greatest resource…the next generation.