WSJ: Are Hard-Working Chinese Kids A Model for American Students?

Have you ever read or heard about the book The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman? Well, this Wall Street Journal article only reinforces the fact that, as this world become more integrated, it will get more competitive.

Bob Compton, a Memphis-based venture capitalist, ran into many kids like Jack when he was traveling in China and India. They were two and three years ahead of his two teenage daughters — not just in math and science, but in almost every other subject, too. That discovery prompted him to make a documentary called “2 Million Minutes,” which followed students in the U.S., India and China to show how they spent their four years of high school — which works out to about two million minutes. The film’s conclusion: Chinese high-school students spend almost twice as much time on schoolwork as their American peers. (Indian kids spend half again as much time as Americans.)…Mr. Compton agrees that China and India push it too far sometimes. But in the U.S., he says, “we don’t push intellectual and academic achievement far enough.

I tend to agree. I really do wonder if other countries, especially Asian countries, have their high school students involved outside of academics in activities such as sports or social events like dances or proms. I just can’t see it — I’m sure American students have a more balanced and enjoyable high school experience, but will this be enough to be competitive in the future in the global economy? I’d be curious if there have been any high school exchange students from either side of the Atlantic or Pacific who could comment on the quality of an American K-12 public education.

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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