"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This Chinese Education Video Provides an Educational Look at how RTTT and Common Core Standards Might Operate in the United States

With all this hoopla about education in China generated by the PISA exam, here is what China is thinking about talking about its own education system. The very first part of the video focuses on stop math Olympics used for middle school entrance and the rest of the video is about reform in rural schools.

Arne Duncan wants us to be more globally competitive. To do so, we are being mandated via Common Core standards into a nationalized push for standards, assessments and curriculum. We've been told we need to be competitive with the Chinese and become Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ready. Every child is expected to go to college and America will be great again...if only we radically transform the public education system in this country to become more like China.

Chinese educators in this video are commenting how their students absolutely detest the "math Olympics" they were subjected to in class and in after school tutoring. The pressure for children to score well is intense as these scores determine middle school placement. The Chinese extol the fact American students are good math students because they study it because they LIKE it, not because they have to study math. At the 4:42 mark, the educator remarks: "But in other countries, it is purely a personal pursuit based on interests".

At the 4:57 mark he continues talking about the Chinese high stakes testing for placement by saying: "I''m completely against it using filter for advancing students and evolution schools, it is wrong....But I'm not against those with GIFTS in math or have a strong interest in math to pursue these endeavors."

China has decided to do away with this high stakes math testing into prestigious middle schools to make the playing field more level between rural schools and city schools. Entrance exams do not contain the math Olympic questions since it was not fair for rural students who did not have the opportunity for extra study.

But then again....the video goes on to report some parents are still exposing their children to the Math Olympics tutoring. They are going against the "common" and expected way of educating their children. How does the Chinese education official respond to this knowledge? What will happen to those going against the mandates of the state? He tells the reporter at the 8:10 mark: "In the past, it was an added bonus point, now it is not allowed, if a principal does it this way, he will get fired...if a teacher does it, he'll need to write a confession, he continues the wrong way, and starts supplemental classes...any policy decision, according to democratic centralism, most of the comrades will follow...But there will always be people not following the rules, then it would require institution, discipline and laws to enforce it." There is no tolerance from the common expectations of administrators, teachers, parents and students.

The latter half of the video talks about the redistribution of highly effective principles from highly effective city schools to failing rural schools. It is reminiscent of America's Race to the Top mandates.

What might happen if, in America, students, parents and teachers do not follow the "common" method of education? We might look to how China handles their troublemakers. If we're determined to become global in our approach to education, we might as well just follow China's example, right?

We're on our way to the Chinese method of educating students via RTTT, Common Core Standards and other federal educational mandates. These "educational reforms" trumpeted by this administration, Arne Duncan and progressive conservatives seem to follow the definition of "democratic centralism" used in China:

under the leadership of
Joseph Stalin from 1928, democratic centralism was much more “centralist” than “democratic,” as party congresses became infrequent occasions for rubber-stamping decisions made by the top party leadership.


  1. While the Chinese move away from testing driven instruction, the federal government wants to increase standardized testing. No country in the world tests as much a we do. Who benefits?

  2. @Sandra.

    The answer to your question: not the students.

    It doesn't work in China and it doesn't work here.


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