Every time I read about “fixing schools” and improving the performance of America’s students, I think about the schools I’ve seen in Singapore and China.
In China: passing exams and getting into the right schools is a life and death proposition. It is do or die. So the students work. And work and work and work.
A young friend of mine practiced the piano for many hours each day beause the communist state said that was her “gift,” that is what the state decided she was good at. She would also walk about two miles and attend three hours of state piano instruction; then walk home and play more piano.
The last time I was in Singapore I noticed that the taxi driver shared the same sirname with the Prime Minister. When I asked how that could possibly be, he said, “I’m his son. It’s my own doing, really, I didn’t want to work in school….” He was assigned to drive the cab: that was his reward for not being a good student.
We Americans seem to think that money will solve our student education woes: but that hasn’t always worked and in China and Singapore they buy way less and get way more than we do, per student.
But you have to face a certain rigid truth if you go to school in China and Singapore: you might be allowed to fail.