Why can’t the United States learn from the best education systems in the world?
The Huffington Post reported that Finland and South Korea top country rankings while the U.S. is rated average at 17th among the 40 developed countries compared. “While Finland and South Korea differ greatly in methods of teaching and learning, they hold the top spots because of a shared social belief in the importance of education and its underlying moral purpose.”
It is a fact, that most American parents do not share or practice those same social beliefs and moral purposes.
The truth is that too many American parents don’t want their children unhappy or depressed and in a merit based system only so many can be in the top 5 – 10% and the rest lose out leading to embarrassment and unhappiness. In addition, far too many American parents would rather spend money on video games for their children than on tutors to teach the children after school.
Besides most American kids would declare war and probably butcher their parents if they had to give up a lifestyle that comes with an average 10 hours a day of dividing up free time watching TV; listening to music; playing video games; texting/social networking, etc.
In Finland, parents start teaching their children to read by age 3, and children start school at age 7 already literate, and the teachers—supported by the parents—make the major decisions in the classroom and the schools.
In South Korea, the educational system is based on meritocracy—for teachers and students—and the competition to earn a slot in the top spot is ruthless because everyone cannot be number one.
Amanda Ripley writing for The Wall Street Journal said in The $4 Million Teacher that “In 2012, [South Korean] parents spent more than $17 billion on tutoring from private schools—more than the $15 billion spent by Americans on videogames that year.”
While in 2010, the New York Times reported that in the United States, the estimated size of the tutoring industry was $5 billion to $7 billion a year.
How does that compare? Well, in the U.S. there are about 50-million students attending K – 12, and that is equal to South Korea’s entire population where only 6 million are students.
Crunch the numbers and Korean parents spend an average of $3,000 annually for each child for private tutoring. But in the US, parents spend—on average—about $100 – 140 annually, but we know that many American parents spend nothing extra to support public education—not even time!
In America—sad to say—about the extent of support most parents are willing to give is to ask a question or two later in the day or early in the morning.
“Honey, how was school today?”
The child replies, “Okay,” as he furiously texts friends.
“Did you do your homework?” the parent asks.
The child makes a face because he is being interrupted while sending his texts, and then he grumpily replies, “Yea.” And 80% [or more] of the children lie about this. In fact, the child usually doesn’t even know if there was homework because he didn’t pay attention in class or forgot.
Studies show that the average American parent talks to his or her children less than five minutes a day, because in the US, it’s a lot cheaper and easier to just blame the teachers and their unions when children/teens are not showing progress in school.
The educational systems of South Korea and Finland are very different but these countries exhibit similar traits that are mostly missing in America. Did you notice what those similarities are?
Discover how to Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.
His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.
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