Teaching in Atlanta and Korea: Students are students, no matter geography or mythology

Here is a great essay by former APS teacher Cindy Lou Howe, who is now an education and diversity consultant  in Atlanta. She taught in Atlanta Public Schools from 2003-2007 and in South Korea from 2008-2012.

By Cindy Lou Howe

As Atlanta kids returned to the classroom last month, some friends and I gathered at an Inman Park taqueria for lunch. Two of us are former Atlanta Public School teachers and two of us are currently teaching. I am a former APS teacher who just returned from teaching overseas in South Korea.

As we talked, we discovered striking similarities in our teaching experiences in the U.S. and South Korea. Despite being separated by different cultures, education systems and continents, our experiences dispelled many myths about America’s so-called “failing” public education system and South Korea’s education “model.”

Myth #1: “Korean parents are more committed to their child’s academic success.”

Among industrialized nations, South Korea’s parents routinely top per-child education spending, shelling out $1.8 billion annually to supplement public school curriculum with expensive after-school academies. In contrast, my friends and I lamented our Atlanta students who often come to school without even paper or a number two pencil. For these kids, they are literally missing the tools necessary to succeed.

During my years in APS, I worked at a school whose zip code produced the most prison inmates in the state. My students faced seemingly insurmountable odds; poverty, drugs and crime. That said, when their parents were highly involved in their learning, despite the difficult circumstances, my students performed well.

In Korea, many of my wealthy students also struggled. Eventually I realized that in terms of learning outcomes, Korean parents who work long hours to provide a luxurious lifestyle are frequently as absent as a single parent working two minimum wage jobs in Atlanta. Time and time again we see that parental involvement is the foundation for student success.

Myth #2: “The quality of teachers at overseas schools is higher.”

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama praised South Korea’s education system and its teachers’ role as “nation builders.” Indeed, Korean culture has historically viewed teachers with respect. In the West, many believe that a private school education trumps a public one. Combine these two factors, and it is not surprising that a friend of mine assumed that Korea’s elite international schools attract the world’s best teachers.

That was not my experience. While working in one of Korea’s top independent schools, most of my colleagues were exiles from American classrooms. Frankly speaking, many would not survive one day in an Atlanta classroom. Teaching abroad, I was grateful for the training and accountability I learned at APS because I knew how to create compelling lessons despite a dearth of resources, and I could identify struggling students and support them.

Ultimately, there is no latitude or longitude of teacher quality. Although many thousands of miles and dollars separate Atlanta public school and Korea private school classrooms, parents on both sides of the Pacific should know that you are essentially getting the same teacher.

Myth #3: “Korean children must be really smart and well-behaved.”

Finally, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from teaching, is that, simply put, kids are kids. There is no geographical or racial bias that yields “good” or “bad” children. Just as some of my Korean students struggled with basic math concepts, I saw students excel across all academic disciplines in southwest Atlanta.

All of this is not to say that America can’t learn a thing or two from South Korea. For instance, among the 15-year-olds in 61 countries who participated in the most recent PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) tests in reading, math and science, Korea ranked 1st, 2nd and 4th, respectively. More importantly, 97 percent of Korean 25- to 34-year olds graduate from high school. Of course, the Korean model yields less admirable outcomes, too. In my experience, many Korean students lack creativity and basic problem solving skills. The upshot? Once again, American and Asian education systems can learn from each other.

We, as Atlantans and Americans, need to stop disparaging our schools. Yes, huge challenges persist, but the good news is that children inherently want to learn. As a new academic year is underway, let’s support our kids, our fellow parents and teachers. Let’s celebrate our strengths while being open to successful foreign models. For the first time in 10 years, I am not be in a classroom this fall, but I still believe in the transformative potential of Atlanta Public Schools.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

63 comments Add your comment

mountain man

September 5th, 2012
6:39 am

Cindy Lou Howe seems to want to puncture three “myths” about South Korean teaching, but she doesn’t seem to bring any evidence to the table; indeed, she seems to reinforce these “myths” in some cases. So my questions for Cindy:

Do you see the same levels of discipline problems in Korea that you see in APS schools and are they dealt with in the same manner (as I understand in APS, that means not dealt with)?

You say Korean parents don’t support their kids’ education any more than APS schools, but then you say they spend $1.8 billion on after-school academies, while Atlanta students often don’t have a single pencil. So which is it, ON THE AVERAGE, do Korean parents take a greater interest in their child’s education than APS parents? (Here is one test: do Korean parents do a better job of making sure their child is PRESENT at school, on time, every day, than APS parents?)

Quality of teachers overseas – you make the point that many who teach overseas ” would not survive one day in an Atlanta classroom” but is that because of quality of teaching or lack of resources to back the teacher up, i.e. teachers left to themselves in APS to deal with all the problems? Tell me the AVERAGE class ranking of teachers overseas to the AVERAGE class ranking of APS teachers? Or tell me the Average SAT score of the overseas teacher vs. the AVERAGE SAT score of the APS teacher.

You are right that we can learn a lot from teaching in Korea, but I am not sure Korea would want to learn ANYTHING from APS schools (except what NOT to do).

catlady

September 5th, 2012
6:53 am

Here is something I am wondering this morning: In Korea, is there the “fall back” of, “If I don’t graduate from high school, if I get pregnant when I am 15, will the government take care of me?” In other words, what (if any) ill effects of irresponsible behavior do the Koreans accept as policy? As a result of talking to some of my students, I have started to wonder about our “We’ll take care of you if you do stupid things” attitude here in the US.

Mountain Man

September 5th, 2012
7:37 am

“Students are students, no matter geography or mythology”

But maybe Cindy could enlighten us on the differences in CULTURE between Korean Schools and Atlanta PUblic Schools. Do Korean parents descend upon the administration, berating them and insisting that “their precious little angel” could not have done what he/she was accused of? Do Korean students spit on their teachers or call them “b*tch”? Inquiring minds really want to know.

Mountain Man

September 5th, 2012
7:41 am

“97 percent of Korean 25- to 34-year olds graduate from high school.”

I am guessing that Cindy is trying to say that by age 34, 97% of the Korean population has graduated high school, not that 97% graduate when they are between the ages of 25-34.

Why don’t you compare apples to apples – how many 20-year-olds have graduated from high school? Does Korea have the equivalent of a GED? Remember, getting a GED is NOT graduating from high school.

mps2341

September 5th, 2012
7:43 am

The author isn’t really comparing apples to apples in Myth #2: “The quality of teachers at overseas schools is higher.”

She found the American English teachers overseas to be no more qualified than the Atlanta teachers. However, I think if she studied the quality of Korean teachers compared to American teachers her views would be drastically changed.

In Korea, teachers must be in the top 90% of their college classes academically.

In the United States, a majority of the undergraduate education majors finish in the bottom two-thirds of their classes. In Georgia alone, the AJC reported last year that Georgia teachers on average scored 50 points lower than the national SAT average.

Korean teachers were also excellent students, while a majority (unfortunately) of U.S. teachers were mediocre students.

Ed Advocate

September 5th, 2012
7:44 am

Great essay Cindy. Thank you for sharing with us. I’m sorry you won’t be returning to the classroom this fall.

Miss Priss!

September 5th, 2012
7:53 am

Mountain Man, goodness… seems like your mind’s already made up, sweetie, in all caps, no less. So why would you need a whole bunch more statistics? Or did you just want to show us how SMART YOU ARE.

Skyun

September 5th, 2012
7:53 am

Bravo Catlady… It is not the teaching methods, the infrastructures, or the lack of funding. It is the pervasive mentality of “so what if I don’t do well in school”. I can assure anyone who has never lived in South Korea that if you do not make it on your own merit that the government will not assist you with food, housing or child care.

I think that Ms Howe has done a disservice with her essay. Instead of pointing out how the korean society values the concept of education, she tries to dis spell myths of their education system. In actuality her three myths are not myths at all… As a naturalized citizen from South Korea I can speak first hand about those myths.

Myth #1: In the primary and secondary years of education most korean parents invest time and money outside of the public school system to send their kids to after school tutors. Most kids leave early in the morning and return home well after 7:00 PM.

Myth #2: The job of becoming a teacher in korea is very competitive. By this very nature of only the most qualified are chosen.

Myth #3: I can not argue with the idea that kids are kids not matter where you live. But statistically speaking the korean educations system in general produces a much higher level of results.

Finally, instead of asking everyone to stop disparaging our school, I feel that we should point out the flaws and make some noise or else we will never change.

William Casey

September 5th, 2012
8:23 am

I guess I’ll play dumb and ask the obvious: what about a comparison of homogeneous nature of Korean schools and the heterogeneous nature of American schools.

teacher&mom

September 5th, 2012
8:54 am

Interesting….I recently spoke with someone who has a family member teaching in S. Korea. She basically de-bunked the same myths. I was surprised since we are constantly told how “wonderful” the education system is in Korea.

Solutions

September 5th, 2012
8:54 am

Gee, all the comments I was going to make were already well covered by mountain man, catlady, and mps2341. So I will just say I agree with them, and Mr Casey’s comment about too much diversity in American classrooms being an issue (my interpretation of homogeneous nature vs heterogeneous nature).

bootney farnsworth

September 5th, 2012
8:56 am

yes, kids are kids everywhere.
but to ignore the impact culture has on the classroom….

with respect to Cindy, her analysis is flawed

Beverly Fraud

September 5th, 2012
9:00 am

“Here is a great essay by former APS teacher Cindy Lou Howe, who is now an education and diversity consultant in Atlanta.

An uncomfortable question that must be asked: Might it be possible that some of her comments in regard to the quality of the “training” at APS are tempered by the fact that, as a “diversity consultant” APS might be a potential future customer?

And, how can anybody take seriously the glowing talk of “accountability” at APS given the well documented culture of administrative retaliation and an “accountability” system that led to the largest cheating scandal in United States educational history?

bootney farnsworth

September 5th, 2012
9:01 am

on second pass, I cringed when she compared APS to anything other than a Korean reform school.

I would love to see percentage comparisons on parental involvement

bootney farnsworth

September 5th, 2012
9:03 am

@ Beverly

what exactly is a “Diversity Consultant”? reminds me of an older term, snake oil salesman.

the best thing which can happen to this nation is to stop whining about “diversity” and refocus on excellence

Beverly Fraud

September 5th, 2012
9:08 am

“with respect to Cindy, her analysis is flawed”

Is her analysis “flawed” or just somewhat measured due to trying come back to the Atlanta marketplace?

Digger

September 5th, 2012
9:23 am

LOL. Funny. South Koreans have the highest IQ’s of any country in the world. No one can misinterpret reality like educators can.

AlreadySheared

September 5th, 2012
9:27 am

“Myth #1: “Korean parents are more committed to their child’s academic success.”

Among industrialized nations, South Korea’s parents routinely top per-child education spending, shelling out $1.8 billion annually to supplement public school curriculum with expensive after-school academies. In contrast, my friends and I lamented our Atlanta students who often come to school without even paper or a number two pencil.”

Based on her own essay, myth #1 seems to be distinctly true in a non-mythical sort of way.

Bernie

September 5th, 2012
9:43 am

Well….Well, You mean it took a stint out of the country Teaching to learn ” There is no geographical or racial bias that yields “good” or “bad” children.” For this Teacher to learn what is an already obvious revelation to many, was worth the investment of a round trip ticket for her and her career.

I would even venture to say, Cindy would be very wise in encouraging a stint for Gov.Deal and Georgia Republican Party leaders and their supporters who are “HELL” bent on destroying Georgia’s already fragile school systems.
They too would be greatly enlightened, I am sure of it.

I agree with Cindy on the opinion of constant disparaging of our current public educational system is not good or helpful. Especially, when one views the big picture
over the years. This current educational system has produced far more many productive and successful outcomes that its failures. All one needs to do and stop and look around you this very moment where ever you are. 90% of the individuals around you presently have successfully survived that very same educational process and managed to have wonderful and stable families.

Also, these same individuals have gone on to become productive and contributing citizens of this Great Nation. That is not a statistic but a FACT.

Finally, when thinking of the coming proposed changes by some of these individuals, one would have to question. How did we fail them? :)

Beverly Fraud

September 5th, 2012
9:57 am

Oh but I so do hate to ask another pesky question:

Myth #3: “Korean children must be really smart and well-behaved.”

Finally, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from teaching, is that, simply put, kids are kids. There is no geographical or racial bias that yields “good” or “bad” children. Just as some of my Korean students struggled with basic math concepts, I saw students excel across all academic disciplines in southwest Atlanta.

First of all, there IS one lesson to learn: Don’t sell short the INDIVIDUAL child due to circumstance.
Now, does anybody else notice she references examples of academics but NOT behavior?

Notice she did NOT say “And just as it is not uncommon in Atlanta, I witnessed South Korean students shouting ‘Shut the f–k up, b-tch!’ at the teacher.”

Just wondering, if her VERY LIFE depended on a class’s test scores, students picked at random, would she have them selected at random from the inner city APS schools or the Korean schools?

JB

September 5th, 2012
10:03 am

As a diversity consultanta is she working to get more non African-American students into APS?

PatDowns

September 5th, 2012
10:26 am

“DIVERSITY” consultant? Just exemplifies what’s wrong with education. No need to read any further.

Rick in Grayson

September 5th, 2012
10:30 am

US society is filled with citizens that don’t pay their “fair” share. Approximately 47% of US taxpayers pay $0 in federal income tax and a full quarter of the those that don’t pay anything in federal income tax receive “earned” income tax credits. Obama wants to make more citizens dependent on the “government”/those that do pay their “fair” share!

I agree with the comment that our government provides too much of a safety net for those that allow themselves to fail. With the proverbial free lunch being handed out, some decide to take the easy way out. We have families that have bred generations of citizens that depend on the government to pay their bills! For those students, school has become a waste of out taxpayer resources.

FormerTeach

September 5th, 2012
10:35 am

I taught overseas in Korean public schools, not private. Let me tell you, they are just as rowdy as American kids. The schools are very standardized test heavy. Kids spend long hours studying, studying but that is not what we want for American kids. People in America would ask me these same questions (myths) about teaching overseas and I think she is just sharing her perspective because I got the same comments/questions, those kids must be good, smart,etc. If you stepped into a Korean public school…they can be just as disrespectful!
I think the point is not to argue about how bad our schools are, we know our flaws. Since the Obama administration, South Korean schools have been our model of education. It is not perfect y’all! Just as witnessed in the comments, we tend to attack, without having the experience ourselves.

Solutions

September 5th, 2012
10:39 am

If mps2341 is correct in stating that last year Georgia teachers scored 50 points below the national average on the SAT, then we have identified part of the problem: Low IQ teachers trying to teach material they do not really understand. Remember, the SAT score can be used to estimate IQ by dividing the SAT score by the number 10 (using only the math and verbal parts such that a perfect SAT score is 1600). The national average SAT score last year was 1013, so subtract 50 to get 963, then divide by 10. The result is an average teacher IQ in Atlanta of only 96. Remember the 96 is just the mean of a distribution, so there will be some teachers with an IQ of 126 or more, but only 2%. There will also be some with an IQ as low as 80. Why do we not require higher standards of our teachers? Too often, teachers are selected for hire based on color, until that ends, we cannot select based on IQ.

Bernie

September 5th, 2012
10:50 am

JB @ 10:03 am – Did you not get the MEMO? the majority of the NON African American students moved with their parents years ago. North,south,east and west of Atlanta some 25-30 years ago. the first time was 10-15 miles. the second move was 20-50 miles, the third move is pending, even further.

The question for you? what Rock have you been hiding under? not to Know or pretend not to be aware of this.

AlreadySheared

September 5th, 2012
10:57 am

@Bernie,
You were right, but now you are wrong. 20 years hence, rich folk will live in the city and po folk in the burbs.

Solutions

September 5th, 2012
11:15 am

SAT Scores By Reported Annual Income

We could conjecture all day on this subject, but the stats do not lie; parents making more money produce kids with higher SAT scores. That is because 60 to 80%+ of IQ is genetic, and no amount of education will change IQ level in a permanent and significant way. These scores include the writing section, so a perfect score is 2400.

$0 – $20,000: 1323
$20,000 – $40,000: 1398
$40,000 – $60,000: 1461
$60,000 – $80,000: 1503
$80,000 – $100,000: 1545
$100,000 – $120,000: 1580
$120,000 – $140,000: 1594
$140,000 – $160,000: 1619
$160,000 – $200,000: 1636
$200,000 and more: 1721

MiltonMan

September 5th, 2012
11:33 am

Why does The AJC rely on APS teachers over and over and over again to supply information in the opinion pieces??? If anything, the cheating scandal rampant within the APS should have taught us that APS teachers are worth about as much as a recycled cardboard box.

What ia a “diversity consultant”? Is she trying to get more white kids within the APS???

This column is actually pretty hilarious:

APS: $15k+ per student

http://fctf.org/media/spec-feb2011.pdf

Even Obama praised the Souith Korean School Model:

http://www.greatschools.org/students/academic-skills/2427-South-Korean-schools.gs

Mountain Man

September 5th, 2012
11:34 am

“Mountain Man, goodness… seems like your mind’s already made up, sweetie, in all caps, no less. So why would you need a whole bunch more statistics? Or did you just want to show us how SMART YOU ARE.”

Mind’s made up – I am asking for more DATA (capitals). I don’t know anything about Korean schools but I find her arguments not persuasive at all, expecially when some of the data she DOES give seems to refute her argument.

If you are going to argue a point of view, at least give some data proving it.

Bernie

September 5th, 2012
11:54 am

AlreadySheared @ 10:57 am – I was still right…The Rich and wealthy are returning, but with a choice in selective high rises, walls, gates and private security roving services.

It will be awhile for the average middle class family to return.
They are just saddled with to much debt right now. Mortages (1st & 2nd), taxes, college tuition and the cost of living expense. so they are moving further away, desperately running away from the despised poor who are at their doorstep as we speak.

This is not just a trend in Georgia, but Nationwide.

Bernie

September 5th, 2012
12:30 pm

With this information it seems to me we should send a few teachers quickly to India and China too! Our top colleges and universities are filled with their citizens in the most sought after JOBS across America. maybe we could learn a thing or TWO from them.

I can assure ALL of you, CHARTER SCHOOLS can not be found in great abundance if any or as a proven and WORTHY educational process theory.
This FACT should give US all pause! Especially in light of their overall proven educational success rate across the board.

TheGoldenRam

September 5th, 2012
12:39 pm

Beware of Teach for America alumni, that having completed their inner-city “tour of duty”, return bearing consulting contracts in hand.
From her blog: ”After graduating from the University of Washington-Seattle with a degree in American ethnic studies, she served as a Teach for America corps member in the Atlanta region.”
I’m sorry, but I just can’t give this essay the same weight that I would to a piece written by a veteran teacher addressing these same issues. For me, this piece has a bit of a ‘resume cover letter’ vibe. A “don’t bite the hand that’s going to feed you” political hedging that can be felt in the way it addresses these myths.
I don’t blame her for that. If I was a “diversity consultant” looking for work in Atlanta, GA, the last thing I’d want to do is tell inconvenient truths or say things that I know the ‘community leaders’ do not want to hear. They don’t want to hear about dramatic disparities in cultural expectations and behavior and how that affects achievement, discipline & outcomes.

Mythology 101

September 5th, 2012
12:52 pm

How many violent gangs are in Korean schools? How many get free lunch? How many weapons, rapes, and other attacks? If there is no difference wy did APS have to resort to cheating to make their students appear competent? How many Koren teachers are on record saying about the kids “They be dumb as hell”?

Really amazed

September 5th, 2012
12:58 pm

Oh Please, now we are going to try get Georgia, one of the lowest ranked in the nation to believe…it’s ok Korea and everyone else is just as mediocre. This will make you feel better about sending your child on the bus tomorrow!!!!! Something has gotta give… we are trusting our gov’t waaaay too much. Our children in American public schools are far behind too many other countries.

Beverly Fraud

September 5th, 2012
1:42 pm

Here is a great essay by former APS teacher Cindy Lou Howe

What exactly makes this a “great” essay?

What a Fool Believes

September 5th, 2012
1:56 pm

The problem with this “analysis” is that it is an apples to oranges comparison. Just as is the case when comparing Scandinavian countries to the U.S. educational system, South Korea is a relatively homogeneous population. If we were to compare U.S. districts with greater resources, and more homogeneous student populations I think the findings would end up being more alike than different.

The only worthy highlight is that parental involvement is key to success in education, but this should be common sense to any culture around the world.

AlreadySheared

September 5th, 2012
2:07 pm

@Bernie,
After you finish with the gated high-rises, take a drive around Morningside or Virginia-Highland. Or Buckhead.

Beverly Fraud

September 5th, 2012
2:15 pm

One gets the feeling Cindy Lou knows better than to show up here on this blog.

Beverly Fraud

September 5th, 2012
2:21 pm

“One gets the feeling Cindy Lou knows better than to show up here on this blog.”

Perhaps that could be rephrased more diplomatically…but the truth is the truth.

The Sanity Inspector

September 5th, 2012
3:12 pm

Read Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. You have no idea how much Asia parents, Koreans included, demand of their children, academics-wise.

Logical Flaw in Item #2

September 5th, 2012
3:40 pm

Myth #2: “The quality of teachers at overseas schools is higher.”

In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama praised South Korea’s education system and its teachers’ role as “nation builders.” Indeed, Korean culture has historically viewed teachers with respect. In the West, many believe that a private school education trumps a public one. Combine these two factors, and it is not surprising that a friend of mine assumed that Korea’s elite international schools attract the world’s best teachers.

That was not my experience. While working in one of Korea’s top independent schools, most of my colleagues were exiles from American classrooms. Frankly speaking, many would not survive one day in an Atlanta classroom…Although many thousands of miles and dollars separate Atlanta public school and Korea private school classrooms, parents on both sides of the Pacific should know that you are essentially getting the same teacher.”

The statement by President Obama refers to the teachers working in the national education system, not to international schools oriented towards educating the children of expatriates living overseas. An accurate comparison would be to compare the educational attainments and qualifications of U.S. teachers teaching in U.S. schools to the the educational attainments and qualifications of Korean teachers teaching in Korean schools. Talking about the mediocre qualifications and abilities of the people you worked with at the international school in Korea, and then saying that teachers in both countries are at the same level, is not proof of your claim.

Mountain Man

September 5th, 2012
4:01 pm

“One gets the feeling Cindy Lou knows better than to show up here on this blog.”

I haven’t seen Cindy or Maureen. I haven’t seen answers to any of our questions, either.

Veteran Teacher

September 5th, 2012
4:15 pm

“Time and time again we see that parental involvement is the foundation for student success.” – this is ABSOLUTELY TRUE every and anywhere you go.

Cindy’s main idea is that we need to stop being so NEGATIVE and positively find solutions to our education issue in APS. I have found the answer is this: INVOLVE THE PARENTS somehow! Regardless of socio-economic status, if a parent VALUES his/her child’s education & SHOWS the student that their education is important, the student will succeed. There should be more PARENT training classes or centers available to parents in APS. With good, honest, open communication from school-to-home and from home-to-school, each student should be able to reach his/her full potential.

Even though I haven’t read the Amy Chua’s book, I can imagine the demands put on Asian children. American parents should learn to demand academic excellence, and maybe they will get just that from their students.

Veteran Teacher

September 5th, 2012
4:18 pm

Typo: Even though I haven’t read Amy Chua’s book…..

Really amazed

September 5th, 2012
5:51 pm

@Veteran Teacher, you are so very correct!!!!!

KoreanAmericanTherapist

September 5th, 2012
5:58 pm

First and foremost, bravo Cindy for stating your opinions based on honest, good-hearted, and good-natured conversaton with fellow school teachers, as well as a vast amount of personal and professional experience. Whether or not folks want to attack you or state that your analysis is “flawed” (really folks, this isn’t a research paper….), it’s refreshing to hear directly from a teacher who has taught arduously in both the Atlanta school system and the Korean private school system. The opinions of all these other folks commenting on this specific topic without direct experience bodes similar to Mitt Romney saying he can identify with the working class because he can cite the statistics. I’d much rather hear from someone who’s lived it, and get their opinion on it, even if it’s disagreeable to others.

Additionally, for those who are hell bent on the sanctity of fruits as comparisons – let’s compare apples to apples, not apples to….um, oranges which are similarily spherical, fruit, sweet, delicious, but are NOT apples damnit!!! — in a perfect world, Cindy’s statements are absolutely right on. Of course culture plays a huge part in academic success and parent/student engagement in education, but there’s nothing intrinsically “better” about the Korean culture than American culture. Further, nobody seems to be taking into account that IQs are an extremely poor measure of intelligence, and are blatantly biased, racist, and classist, and measure very specific things (as Cindy stated, they don’t measure creativity, provlem solving, empathy, emotional intelligence, compassion, etc.). As are SAT scores. And consider the population of the U.S. versus S. Korea – it’s over 6 times as great, and with that comes all of the ridiculous freedoms (like ranting on an op-ed piece and personally insulting the author without basis), problems, victories, and struggles we all get to share in. U.S. public school systems definitely need work, and we can glorify any other country’s system that appears better. Of course that’s the easiest thing to do. All large systems need work – in any country. I do agree with Cindy that the teachers that many Korean families want their children being taught by are foreigners, not Koreans, in private schools that hire folks who are equal in credentials and experience to many of the teachers in the U.S. public school system.

Good work Cindy. Let the haters be haters. I think your article is interesting and insightful, and a good read:)

Miss Priss!

September 5th, 2012
7:37 pm

Mountain Man … thanks for repeating what I wrote, darling. I was pleased with it, too!

Did you select, copy, and paste it … or did you type it in word for word so you could experience through your quivering fingers what professional snark feels like?

Atl2012

September 5th, 2012
8:09 pm

Come on people. This is merely the opinion of one teacher based on her experiences and I commend her for showing the positives that do exist in the American school system. All to often we as Americans always look for the next best thing, thinking that because it’s not American it must be better… We see it with cars, IT talent, and now education models. All Ms. Howe was trying to convey was the fact that our system isn’t all that bad and we can learn a lot from each other.

Now to those who want to berate her and invalidate her position because she is a former APS teacher, please go back and do a little research of your own. As a former DOE employee I read the reports and did not see her affiliated with the scandal so her employer has nothing to do with her ability to draw parallels between APS and her experience abroad. Also, APS is not and I repeat is NOT the only school district cheating. Lastly for the person wanting facts and figures, go grab a book or perhaps stop hiding behind your computer berating others and go learn for yourself… Experience is the best teacher. Data is only as reliable as its source and can be easily skewed.

Bernie

September 5th, 2012
8:24 pm

AlreadySheared @ 2:07 pm – My Friend those communities have had their privately paid roving security services for many years. A noticeable uptick increase of German Shepherds as pets has been there for awhile as well. Soon you will have to have residential membership to even enter those areas to eat or shop.