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The Reality of American Education – Part 3/3

MYTH: “American Universities Are Being Overtaken.” (concerning research and development)

Wildavsky’s ANSWER: “NOT SO FAST.

He says, Asia’s share of the world’s research and development (R&D) spending grew from 27 to 32% from 2002 to 2007, led mostly by China, India, and South Korea.

However, R&D spending worldwide massively surged in the last decade from $790 billion to $1.1 trillion, up 45 percent, and in 2007, the U.S. spent $373 billion (up from $277 billion in 2002) on R&D, which was very high by global standards totaling more than all Asian countries’ combined ($352 billion was spent on R&D in Asia).

MYTH: “THE WORLD WILL CATCH UP”

Wildavsky’s ANSWER: “Maybe, but don’t count on it anytime soon.”

While the global academic marketplace is without doubt growing more competitive, the United States doesn’t have just a few elite schools as most of its foreign competition does, and the U.S. spends about 2.9 percent of its GDP on postsecondary education, about twice the percentage spent in 2006 by China, the European Union, and Japan combined.

In fact, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), eight of the top ten universities are in the US and so are 54 of the top 100, while the US State Department recognizes 194 independent countries around the globe.

If this three part series of posts sparked a curiosity to learn more on this topic, I urge you to take the time and click over to Foreign Policy magazine‘s Website and read all of FP’s Think Again: Education written by Ben Wildavsky.

It’s always a good idea to discover the facts before you form an opinion or believe what someone writes in a Blog. In today’s Internet dominated world, opinions without reputable and reliable facts to support them are worth as much as sterile dirt, which is why I usually link to the sources I use for facts.

After reading Wildavsky’s piece in FP, it is obvious that America’s schools are not failing and have never been failing and are actually either holding steady or slowly improving.

That DOES NOT mean the US should stop working at improving the public education system.

Considering the handicaps and competition teachers in the U.S. public schools face to gain the attention and cooperation of the average child and/or adolescent, the facts says American teachers are doing an incredible job.

Imagine what would happen if the average American parent was actually involved with his or her child’s education as much as the average Asian-American parent (such as Amy Chua of Tiger Mother fame). If you are interested in learning more of Amy Chua, I recommend reading her oldest daughter’s Blog, a new tiger in town, who is now attending Harvard — ranked number one by the ARWU.

Return to The Reality of American Education – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – Part 4/4

Lori Gottlieb follows Amy Chua with Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University that has written extensively about narcissism and self-esteem.  Twenge is also the co-author of Epidemic. Twenge says, when ego-boosting parents exclaim “Great Job!”, the child learned to feel that everything he does is special … he never gets negative feedback on his performance … They grew up in a bubble, so they get out into the real world and they start to feel lost and helpless.


“Season 2 – Episode 9 – Does anyone let their kids play outside anymore? Cross the street? Do their own homework? Tie their own shoe? How do we prepare our kids for the real world while keeping them in a protective bubble? Jen and Barb talk to Dr. Wendy Mogel, nationally known clinical psychologist and author of the New York Times best selling parenting book, “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” about need to empower ourselves as Mothers to loosen the leash and let our kids fall, so they learn how to get up and are prepared for the future.”

Wendy Mogel told Gottlieb over the phone, “Please let them (kids) be devastated at age 6 and not have their first devastation be in college!” and “parents who protect their kids from accurate feedback teach them that they deserve special treatment.”

In fact, Twenge says, “Research shows that much better predictors of live fulfillment and success are perseverance, resiliency, and reality-testing—qualities that people need so they can navigate the day-to-day,” and many kids aren’t learning these skills anymore.

Near the conclusion of the Atlantic piece, Gottlieb said, “by trying  so hard to provide the perfectly happy childhood, we’re just making it harder for our kids to actually grow up.”

Return to Too Happy! Too Perfect! Too Fragile! – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

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Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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