From the Readers

Shanghai shock for US students

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-22 10:20
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Students in the United States lag behind their peers from other countries, especially Shanghai, who received the top international test scores in mathematic, science and reading, according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

What is China doing right? According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report on PISA results, the culture of education in China is centered on competitive examinations in core subjects.

Chinese students spend more time on studies than their American counterparts, although they spend less time on extracurricular activities like sports.

Moreover, China has raised the status of teaching as a profession by making entry to teacher training courses very selective and by raising teachers' pay. These strategies attract the best candidates to the teaching profession.

In China, teaching is increasingly becoming a prestigious profession and a preferred occupation.

On the contrary, the public education system in the US is not preparing students to succeed in the increasingly competitive global economy.

Three decades ago, China's education system was far behind that of the US.

Now Chinese students are getting the top international test scores.

That China could significantly reform its education system within such a relatively short span of time suggests the United States could do the same with its education system.

Bill Costello, via e-mail

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