Which superpower has the better education? (U.S. or China?)
Let’s begin with China and their education system. Chinese students have a long day of school. In general, the average day of a Chinese student is from 6:50a.m. to 6:00p.m. Basically, Chinese students attend about 12 hours and 50 minutes of school for six days of the week, on average. Most students decide to take extra classes after school. Chinese students are high school students after secondary education; starting 10th grade. Like American colleges, students entering 10th grade must pay a tuition fee depending on academic achievement. Chinese education emphasizes memorization in subjects such as Math and Science. I was reading an article in Travel Pod titled A Day in the Life of a Chinese Student by Pchun88 (Aug. 25, 2005). The article had an interesting quote that related to my research on education: “In place of three electives, high school students are required to take physics, biology, and chemistry simultaneously for three straight years.” This reminded me of the PISA test that was administered around the world. In 2009, students in Shanghai, China proved to be the smartest from others around the world, which has made a powerful statement among its global counterparts. China has a well respected educational system that many countries all over the world admire.
Although China has an amazing model for education starting from elementary to secondary, China’s worst enemy in higher education is itself. USA World had interesting article by Katy Chu (Feb. 1, 2011), which made me think that Chinese educational system is in need a specific reform: “What the Chinese are very good at doing is achieving short-term goals," says Jiang Xueqin, deputy principal of Peking University High School, affiliated with Beijing's Peking University, known as the "Harvard" of China. "They're good at copying things, not creating them."” The quote made me think about what China’s educational system really proposes. China’s education lacks to innovate students to be of the world, not just of China; therefore, Chinese students’ psych is to become a professional based on their parents’ beliefs or choice. While China motivates its students to memorize and solve complex math problems, it does not create a professional of self rather than basing ideas off others.
The educational system in the U.S. is not country-wide, rather yet the power of controlling education was given to the States during the creation of the Constitution. Our education system consists of basic fundamentals such as K-5 elementary schools, 6-8 middle schools, 9-12 high school, and specific levels of degrees earned throughout college. Since the beginning of Kindergarten, children are exposed one of the most valued idea of the U.S.; Amendment I of the Constitution or the freedoms of speech, religion, petition, assembly, and press. Emphasis is given to speech because as a democratic country, opinions count. I was reading an article in TIME by Andrew J. Rotherman (Jan. 20, 2011), where I found an interesting statement: “There are differences between countries that international assessments fail to capture. The American educational system is remarkable for the second chances it offers students who struggle in school. If you have to repeat a grade, we don't tell you that you can never go to college. Likewise, if you fail a test, it doesn't automatically put you on a different life path. Even in some industrialized nations, high-stakes tests mean a lot of kids get kicked to the curb. That's not our way.” America gives many options to the widest range of people they can get. For example, many teenagers take the SAT; in my opinion, a very strategical test. Although not many students across America score in the 2000s, there are schools that will accept people with grades below that. The U.S. allows students different options for their academics in high school, a test grade like the SAT will never “make or break” anyone.
While the U.S. may have been an educational power in the world, during the 20th century, the prestige of primary and secondary education has faded away. After the PISA test, which involved many countries in the world, the U.S. placed around 17th overall. The U.S. has not had any academic reforms that have empowered more learning in schools. At the same time, we have about 180 days of school on the average year. According to the article Education (or lack thereof): America is getting dumber by Stan Marsh (no date available) said: “Lack of education isn't the problem: It's the lack of work ethic that is causing Americans to "get dumber." Sadly most young students just don't care, and if they do they don't think to ask for help because it is becoming normal to not be able to spell or speak correctly.” I agree with this quote because American teenagers have become less caring about school because they do not realize how important education is in the U.S. and in global terms. Most people just care about getting the homework done, but others put the extra effort to learn and make themselves a strong candidate for future jobs.
After a whole comparison between the good and bad of U.S. and Chinese education, there still remains the inquiry: Which superpower has the better education? In my opinion, to this day, America may lack in primary to secondary education, but higher education is our forte. A degree from the U.S. is valid in many countries around the world and sometimes seen as “gold”. U.S. higher education has proven to prepare and enhance professionals, even if they failed throughout primary and secondary school; and wish to turn their life around. The U.S also homes what we like to call, the best university in the world and otherwise known as, Harvard. Our higher education system allows students to become highly trained and master their skill of choice. Many U.S. post-college graduates decide to pursue careers outside the country and help those in need or strive for change in their own countries. The U.S. may be lacking the correct educational system for those in primary as well as secondary education, but we end up being the top “dog” in higher education.