Obama supporters dissent from his vision to emulate hellish South Korean education model
Posted by danishova on March 27, 2009
Recently I noted that Obama (who seems pathologically incapable of finding anything good to say about our own country) is infatuated with South Korea’s education model:
Barack Obama wants to emulate South Korea’s education system with “longer school days, school weeks and school years”
Clay Burell, an Obama supporter who knows a thing or two about South Korea, deconstructs Barack’s argument here:
I live in Korea. I’ve taught in Korea for three years. My wife is Korean, and my in-laws are parents of children in the Korean education system. And I’m here to warn President Obama that Korea is a model to treat with way more skepticism than he shows above.
Burell then cites a study from the Korea Times:
Kim said in the thesis that such a high dropout rate is largely attributable to Korean parents forcing their children to study rather than participate in extracurricular activities, an essential part of overseas education for foreign students to acclimate themselves to American society and get a good job in the long run.
According to the thesis, Korean students consume 75 percent of their time available for studying, while they allocate only 25 percent to extracurricular activities such as community service.
In contrast, American students and those from other countries tend to equally share their time for both study and other activities.
He continues with his own observations:
Let me drive the point home: Koreans are so good on international test scores because they work overtime being taught to pass these tests. When they hit the real academic world in college, they don’t have the skills necessary to succeed. They’re great at acing college admissions tests – that’s what their k-12 education emphasizes – but they’re America’s worst at actually getting through college. And Obama and Duncan are sorely disappointing for not understanding this.
And I’ll end with my own observations and readings while living and teaching here in Korea: Korean students are forced to study in "hagwons" – private night- and weekend-classes, and yes, full summer classes too….
I see these kids in their school uniforms at midnight outside my apartment, going home after their night classes at the English hagwon down the block. And the funny thing? Koreans spend all this time and money on English, but they don’t learn it. They don’t speak it to foreigners, they write and read it horribly for all the time invested. A westerner who teaches English at Korean universities blogs about the problem here. I’ll just add that most of that study is worksheet-based, scripted, and devoted to passing college examination tests, the SAT, TOEFL, and all the other tests these classes teach to.
This sounds like an absolutely hellish existence. Like everything Barack has planned for us.
Meanwhile, his Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, thinks we should get rid of summer vacations and convert to year-round-schooling so we can be more like…the Chinese.