It was a defining moment in education. Our president telling us that the Chinese had pulled ahead and were outdoing us in achieving the future. Their math and science scores soared above ours. We were falling behind and had to do something immediately… The Chinese were so far ahead….
In a crises, all stops get pulled. All secondary concerns get pushed aside. One objective and one objective only becomes the goal. We, the United States of America, had to catch up and the fastest way was to emulate what they were doing…..
Our Department of Education focused on Common Core.
Only now, with the abysmal failure of Common Core and gazing across the wasteland it has left behind, are we beginning to question the data that propelled us there in the first place… We have in just the past weeks, revisited the DC successes and found perhaps that really didn’t happen. We have in recent weeks, revisited the Atlanta successes and found, for sure, that really didn’t happen. We have visited the successes of Texas upon which George W. Bush rode into the White House, and America implemented the Texas program nationwide which fizzled and flopped, and just this year, we found out why. The results were faked and not real….
So now, we turn to China. And to our surprise, what do we find?
The Chinese tested their top students. We are comparing those scores to our testing of everyone…. Yes. It is as if we compared all of Delaware’s student’s performance to those Delaware students who went to Harvard, and created a crises since Delaware’s scores were lower than those of former Delawarean Harvard Grads.
The Chinese tests just measure those of the best schools in their most cosmopolitan city. It does not measure performance in any other city than Shanghai. It does not measure the performance in rural China. It is a measurement of the cream off the top, and then comparing it to the 2% milk underneath, and calling that milk foul….
And we, using this skewed data off the top, raced to change America’s Educational System into that of China…
Despite some very alarming trends illustrated in China taken out of that same report….
Here’s the history. For the first time ever a standard test was given world wide. In the test 5,100 15-year-olds in Shanghai outperformed students from the other countries on an international standardized test that measured math, science and reading competency. American students came in between 15th and 31st place in the three categories.
America went into convulsions. However, the reaction in China itself was far different…..
“Certainly, there was pride in Shanghai’s achievements but there was also a great deal of introspection as to the real significance of the test results and the need for reform of the Chinese education system. Chinese media widely cited the findings of a 2009 survey covering 21 countries conducted by the International Assessment of Educational Progress, which showed that while Chinese students excelled at maths, they were in last place when it came to using their imagination and were fifth from bottom where creativity was concerned.“
The Chinese themselves bemoaned that “the grooming of “superb test-takers” comes at a high cost, “often killing much of, if not all, the joy of childhood”. Chen said the system that created high scores denigrated students who are little more than “test machines” who lack imagination and creativity.”--China Daily by Chen Weihua
“These are two sides of the same coin: Chinese schools are very good at preparing their students for standardized tests. For that reason, they fail to prepare them for higher education and the knowledge economy.” He pointed out that China’s most promising students still need to go abroad and “unlearn the test-centric approach to knowledge that was drilled into them”. The current Chinese education system, he said, is holding the country back. “Shanghai’s stellar results on Pisa,” he wrote, “are a symptom of the problem.” He added: “One way we’ll know we’re succeeding in changing China’s schools is when those Pisa scores come down.” Jiang Xueqin, deputy principal of the Peking University High School,
The Shanghai system may be producing high test scores, because children are drilled to anticipate the question and how to properly maximize points on how they respond, they are not taught what thinking is, or how to do it. Multinational Corporations in China have to draw their talent from elsewhere, because Chinese follow orders and that is all. Thinking creatively and solving problems is not what they do well. They are not self starters, as China’s lack of start up organizations tends to show…
While Shanghai students scored well above average in overall reading capabilities, they were poor at capturing information from charts, tables and lists. They also ranked well below average in independent reading strategies, which means they rely on teachers’ instructions on what to read. Those two categories hold the key to practical problem solving and research capabilities, which don’t feature prominently in early studies but are crucial to success in higher education.
What is sad is despite these misgivings in China itself, we over here are trying these techniques upon our inner city children.
That is our policy of teaching the questions on the test and how to answer them to maximize one’s points…..We are working hard upon making our educational system more irrelevant than it ever was.
Our fear that all the good jobs will go elsewhere, is becoming a fulfilling prophecy They will go to those people not educated in China or the US…..
Delaware is leading America’s RTTT towards the wrong direction….
Data the world over, is pointing that exciting kids to learn, is the clue. Letting them find the spark of curiosity and fanning it, pushes a child further than all the discipline in the world…. Evidence shows this happens more readily in smaller classrooms where the child idolizes the teacher and wants to perform so as not to let one’s teacher down.
No different from adults, really.