"I am a Korean mom. If I had to decide where to raise my children, I would
choose the U.S. over South Korea. Just as it is easier to add salt to
bland food than to remove saltiness from already salty food, it is easier
to add discipline and learning to a flexible and somewhat lax system than
to separate the essential part of learning and growing from the overly
complicated mesh of educational ambitions.
The troubles that I am having in this country (the U.S.) are,
1. Books are too expensive.
2. Extracurricular activities (music, art, language lessons) are too
costly (at least where we live).
3. Teachers' tenure does not make sense. Teachers' union does not do good.
4. The U.S. education system is marching backward to where China, Japan,
Korea used be 20-30 years ago. The Asian countries are trying their best
to move away from rote memorization and simply picking up facts. Instead,
they are switching their focus to creativity, logic and both convergent
and divergent thinking. Although invisible to the public eyes, there are
many Asians creating and inventing (not bettering as someone below said)
in the fields such as engineering and medicines. There is an index for
science/engineering publications for the proof. See which region has
increased publications in recent years. I heard the American schools used
to nurture children's individualities, creativities and divergent
thinkings. Well, not so any more, at least in my children's school. I
guess No Child Left Behind is behind this detrimental consequence?"
"Well, there are a lot of pros to the Korean education system for Koreans,
but probably wouldn't fare well in the US. In Korea it is the family that
pushes the student to succeed, not the school. The school is a tool for
the student to utilize, not for the student to just go through the motions
like they do in the US.
I could go on and on about such things, but what needs to be taken into
account is Korea's high suicide rates amongst teenagers mostly due to
stress, their consistent lack of sleep (which is made up during classes,
so spending more time in school isn't necessarily productive) and the push
on memorization rather than retention through understanding is
frightening. Standardized test scores mean nothing in the long run. Just
means that they're able to study for tests, not necessarily contribute to
society, which in the long run, is what education is about."
"In reading the below... if they would teach the kids both in the US and
Korea the fundamental skills in the day time than perhaps we would have a
better school system in both. As far as the statement not the teacher's
fault...hmm... I think that a lot of teachers focus on the minimalist....
giving the class the minimalist for the one that knows the minimalist to
keep up... forget about the high achievers and those that are bored out of
their minds...its more important to reach the kid that is struggling to
read...no child left behind... too bad soo many of the kids that went into
elementary school ahead of the class... end up dropping out, developing
poor coping, study skills, get labled as trouble makers early on...and
told to wait for the class to catch up.... The way I see it.... the cop
out here is it's too hard for the kids...they are just kids... let them be
kids... the problem with that... is the expectation is set sooo low and
it's raised quickly and then in 9th gra!
de you find these kids behind because they weren't pushed or challenged
in Elementary school when they are really learning and developing their
back bone, and learning skills... quit treating them like babies.... or
they never grow up and we have a nation of adult of ignorent, uneducated
folks that dropped out when the going got tough. "
"It is a kind of my statement of Korean education for trial."
"Given the stats given in the article, why wasn't there more focus on what
the Finns do? It seems much more appealing."
"The biggest factor in the success of both Finland and S. Korea-MOTIVATED
STUDENTS, CONCERNED PARENTS.
Unfortunately, this is what the United States is lacking in the areas that
need it the most. You can throw money at the problem as much as you like,
but without kids that care, and parents that monitor, it is a waste of
"As a teacher, I'm scared! If we are to be judged/paid based on how well
our students do on tests, as our president suggests, maybe some will
advocate we go back to beating students who don't perform well. I'm sorry
to have to say this, but 'Look to the parents!' I can not guarantee a
student who is not adequately rested, nourished, and supported emotionally
at home will benefit from anything I do in the classroom. "
"The retirement age in S. Korea is 63."
"One of my friends has a daughter that is a teacher.
She was sent to Japan for a month in the summer of 2008 and came back a
different person. What she absured was male teachers beating male
students for doing poorly on a test, while the rest of the class watched.
This did not happen everyday but often.
One of my favorite sayings: There are two sides to every story and
somewhere in between is the truth.
"Show me the money! We teachers would love a longer school year...but our
district has been cutting hours & services along with pay cuts. Next
year, we may not have health clerks, aides, coaches, etc. Already cut are
the music programs! How do we compete when school funding is not a
priority in this country? Teachers already work countless extra hours
without pay to help tutor kids afterschool. When is it going to get
better? We teach because we love kids & want the best for them...our
hearts are in it...but where is our government who show us 'better'
systems...but don't implement positive changes?"
"As a current public school teacher in a large high school, I can cite some
simple reasons why our schools are not as successful as they should be.
Every time our students do poorly on tests, we re-do the test so more
students will score well. Every time a student is caught cheating on a
test, we must give him a re-test. A student can turn in work up to 4 1/2
weeks late and still not make lower than a 60. Tardies are 'erased' after
9 weeks. Administration is more interested in keeping misbehaving students
in class 'so they can learn' instead of removing them so the other 30 can
learn. I could go on and on..."
"What is the retirement age in S. Korea?"
"It is easy to look at a school system that is doing well and say -wow
that's a great system, we need to do what they are doing! The thing is, it
takes a great deal more than the school system to produce successful
students. A very large part of success can only be achieved by the
parents, in the hours outside of school to enforce studying and homework
time. Maybe we should focus on the demographics of the successful kids and
the parents of the kids and start some programs designed for parents to
help the kids succeed. There are a lot of parents out there in failing
school districts who need training and support outside of school to help
their kids succeed. If a parent does not care about their child's success,
guess what-the student won't either! It's time to stop pointing the finger
at failing systems and start looking to the parents and families of these
students and make a change that goes beyond the system."
"Maybe sitting for 13 hours a day and contemplating suicide are not what we
want to emulate in US schools. But teaching greater dignity in
learning--without the caning please--IS part of what we could
consider.Nevertheless, what happens in South Korea and in Finland in
school is part of an entire lifestyle that we cannot and need not try to
copy --except in certain features proven to be effective,of which, by the
way, there were none presented in the article. Please, next time, don't
give such a misleading title to an article: What we can learn from this
article about schools is what NOT to do, and your title gives hope that
something more substantial and more on target with the title might have
been discussed "
"If our President had any child education he would realize we dont need
more presure in our schools or our society. We need to educate our
children in more ways then mathmatically and logically. The human being
learns in over 20 different ways and arounnd the globe we still educate in
only 2 ways.Einstein touted imagination as the key to success, without it
we are producing drones."
"I am a Korean-American, educated in America (with a BA from UCLA and an MS
from Boston University). And I have seen what my poor cousins in Korea are
going through. I would never want that kind of pressure on me or my
children! It's really awful. This article does not exaggerate. And yes,
their education system/family expectations go too far and it shows in the
kids rebellion after they finish high school. There is a saying among a
new generation of Koreans... 'Take what's good in Korea, but don't be
afraid to throw out the bad.' People in Korea are afraid to change all
they know... study, study, study! The system in Korea is bad in many ways
(good in some); they need to help parents adjust their expectations and
value other things beyond simply academics. The health of the whole person
is more valuable than the laser focus on studies. It seems this unbalanced
focus is doing more of a disservice to the people of Korea and beyond."
"It's not the quantity of seat time, but the quality of the teacher time.
There is a time for rote memorization and that is to also prepare for the
need to remember facts later on. (I wouldn't want my doctor trying to
remember which symptom go with which illness.) I don't think we in the
USA are anywhere close to the discipline of the Koreans with regards to
learning. Many students go to school for the social time and the sports
time. SAD!!!! Lets not shoot the discipline of the Koreans down before we
even start trying it. I'm just thinking of rescueing our education from
the brink of 'only child care' and moving it to actually 'learning facts'.
We go straight to teaching analyzing of facts, but the kids don't even
know what the facts are. (i.e. What country did the majority of 9-11
terrorist come from? Not Iraq, but Saudia Arabia.)"
"Please give us more information about Finland's education success.
"I have a 14 year old son who has attended a public
elementary and middle school from 2nd to 8th grade.
I have been to meetings with teachers,counselors,
principals concerned about my son's education.
He will be entering 9th grade next fall and does
not know his multiplication tables, does not know
how to count money or what proper change he should get
back, does not know the calendar and what month comes after what month,let
alone how many weeks or
days in a given month, does not know TIME,except
digital,has no orginizational skills at all.
I have been told not to worry about it, it will
eventually click.The so called tutoring they offer
very early in the a.m. is a joke, and the teachers
aid for students having trouble in math is a joke.
I am not a teacher, I do not have a college degree,nor am I getting a
paycheck to teach him.
He does have an IEP, but that is a joke too.
It is not worth the paper written on. The No Child
Left Behind, left my child behind about 4 years.
And not one person in this West Tennessee county
could care less.He will be passed on thru 12th grade
I am sure,and probally want know anymore then as
he does today. Most of the teachers, are there for
a paycheck only.And most of your Jr High and High
Schools are so crowded kids like my son just fall thru the cracks and NCLB
just leaves them there.
The Tennessee school system needs a complete
overhaul, not just increased ciriculum credits
to obtain a high school diiploma.
"Would like to hear more about Finland's educational system. Where's a
"what is needed is balance; while putting children through a punishing
academic schedule will not make them well balanced adults, we do need more
emphasis ,culturally , on high academic standards. Kids who study well
should be held up as models , not 'nerds' and the responsibility for good
grades should rest on the kids and parents along with teachers"
"A few reasons why Finnish school system works. Teachers have to pass a
very demanding university masters program. Children start school at 7
years old and are not required any knowledge of reading, writing etc.
before that. School is demanding. Kids are expected to learn and pay
attention. And they do since they are more mature at the age of seven. The
class lasts 45 minutes after which there is a break for 15 minutes
outside. Hot school lunch is offered every day. Curriculum is very united
and follows state guide lines. Education is high priority with the Finnish
goverment. Yes, Finland is a very homogenous society, does this mean that
Scandinavian, white people are better learners. I think it is just excuse
not to investigate why Finland is so successful with their school system.
It boils down to money and how much the goverment is really willing to
invest in our children."
"With Finland scoring as the winner in study effectiveness, is their
economy showing better in economically? Is there a relationship between
being better educated and being tougher economically? I think this is the
real test of the school system......you can are argue that sometimes
academic excellence comes at the expense of good old fashioned common
sense. I think our children need to develop both and I think good old
fashioned play, downtime, happiness hobbies, healthy eating and making
mistakes in a safe environment along with great schools will give balance
to our childrens' quality of life."
"Finland has it. They let the parent decide when to send the child to
school, seven is the general age that they start. If kids want to be
barefoot at school, they can. Classes are not segregated, the older
students help the younger. The class can not advance until every student
is proficient. Wow our teachers here would croak to think they had to
teach skill sets to each and every student. Those that can not perform
higher level skill sets are divided off and put in trade school. Oh we
couldn't do that here, we might be prejudice about who goes what
direction. Those that excell academically go to college on the state (we
are talking a small population). The TV shows are in English and subtitled
in Finnish. The kids now read before they get to school because they want
to know what Arthur did on TV. Put our kids shows in a foreign language
and then subtitle with English. It works. But again we would be resistant
to this. Our biggest problems with schools is the liberal left th!
at has hijacked our educational system and our teacher's failure to see
that each and every student is on grade level of all skill sets before
promotion. And we can thank the administrator's also for this as they
don't do there job either."
"it isn't a robot control, So. Korea is a democratic country as is ours,
they have a stronger sense of community than of self which would serve our
nation well. That being said we have hosted kids from So. Korea for the
past 4 years. They are great at regurgitation, math and science scores
through the roof however when it comes to creative writing or even
answering a question they look for the 'right' answer instead of
answering, they respond to formulas even in conversation at first they
expect us to talk the way a conversational English book talks which of
course is not reality at all. They struggle with free time not knowing
what to do with themselves, which I think is also a problem coming up with
the generations here instead of just getting outside being active there is
way too much computer time. I think part of why Korean's are so short is
that they don't get near enough sleep. Its a fight every year implementing
a bedtime for the kids. They feel punished that they are!
being sent to bed instead of staying up to study more. I love South
Korea I have great respect for the people and the culture, I've lived
there and had several kids live here with us. I read this article afraid
it was going to be touting how wonderful the education system is over
there and was happy to discover that it brought out the teen suicide
rates, and how little time is spent on play learning there. Do we need a
change here? yes. Is the change is forcing more academia? I don't think so
I think we need to focus on not losing the arts and creativity that are
such a part of our education system. Most Korean technology is taking
ideas and bettering them. Name one thing that was invented in Korea, not
perfected or bettered but the idea coming from Korea? What they do is
amazing, but I feel it would be a huge mistake to take creative thinking
out of our education system when it is truly the best thing going for us "
"No way!!! We lived in Seoul for 4 years and I am so glad that our kids
weren't educated on the economy. Talk about stress. I don't know why
anyone would put kids through a Korean style education just to get good
test scores. What this article isn't telling you is that most of the day
in public school is spent sleeping (for high schoolers) so they can be
awake for the after school classes that they take until 11 p.m. or 12 a.m.
They go home after that to do their homework!! Everyone's goal is to pass
National Exams for university entrace. The problem is that most of the
exam content isn't taught in the public schools. That's why the kids have
to take classes for that content after a full day in school. There are so
many articles about Korean students who gain admission to American Ivy
League schools only to drop out early because the degree they were pushed
to get doesn't fit them or they have no life skills to help them cope with
independence. These kids are coddled while th!
ey are in school(from elementary to high school), but expected to reach
incredible academic goals. The kids are caught in a double bind of high
achievement in school, but everything being done for them to make it
happen. Their moms do everything for them!! Their dads are in charge of
harsh discipline when they mess up. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
One thing that is notably different about our students vs. theirs is the
ability to think creatively. Korean students are wonderful at following
directions perfectly, but give them a task with no directions and they
have a hard time. Asking them to make something up or problem solve is
rough too. I can see why the PISA is low for them. They memorize memorize
memorize and they put in the hours, but to what end? I'd rather have kids
with time to think, ponder and invent while being educated than an
exhausted, overstressed kid any day.
"My perception of the problems with our public education system are:
1) parents lack of proper discipline of their children and lack of parent
2) Teachers therefore have to spend 80% of their time on behavior
modification vs. 'teach'
3) Too many students do not speak English which holds back both the
students and the teachers.
4) Too many liberals in education!!
5) Catering to the 'average' student. Needs to be more advanced programs.
We are dumbing down our children and holding them back.
"How much time do students spend in school in Nigeria compared to British
Guiana? How do their test scores compare?
What are their test scores compared to Finland or South Korea?"
"Is this article fair. it obviously came from an uninformed person who
apparently hates Obama. "
"If you want to produce machine-like people, this is definitely the way to
go. It is a great 'control' method. Governments love to control the
masses despite the result. What about the freedom to just gaze at the
clouds and imagine what animal shape they are forming? "