America’s Public Education vs. China’s State-Run Education

Are They Working Together to Destroy America?

When my son started first grade, his language and math skills were at the third-grade level, thanks to his private kindergarten. So, he was extremely bored at school. When we asked him what he learned, he always replied, “The same thing, one two three and ABC.” When my wife asked his school to give him something at his level, they told her there was no accommodation. As a result, my son learned nothing from his school for the first three years. Worse, he developed a habit of not paying attention in class.

Many Asian, especially Chinese, parents are puzzled by America’s education philosophy that is more concerned about students' mental well-being than academic competence. In China, there are top-notch kindergartens, elementary, middle, and high schools. You have to pass highly competitive exams to get into them. Their education system caters to talented and hard-working students to produce the best scientists and engineers.

Habi Zhang, a young mother and doctoral student studying political science in the U.S., was dismayed to find out her son had little homework in America. In her opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on November 21, 2021, she wrote:

Hattie had recently finished two years of elementary school in Chengdu, China, where he trotted off to school each day with a backpack stuffed with thick textbooks and materials for practices and quizzes. Here he leaves for school with little in his backpack other than a required “healthy snack.”

But her concern is what this means to the future of America. Like many freedom-loving Chinese, she is concerned about China’s goal to overtake America as the number one global power. She asks:

How will America compete with a China determined to train the best mathematicians, scientists and engineers?

She has also realized that America is going through a cultural revolution:

Unfolding now are two Maoist cultural revolutions, one in the East and the other in the West. The former is a jingoistic nationalism enforced by party loyalties and ubiquitous secret police. The latter is an anti-Americanism enforced by progressive mobs seeking to defund the police. Both are about limiting expression, controlling thought and regulating behavior.

The difference in the two education systems is alarming:

Chinese education pushes the young in directions that serve the party and the state. Youth are trained to be skilled laborers ready to endure hard work and brutal competition. Such political indoctrination is taught side by side with math and science. American education is supposed to be about opening minds but appears not to fill them with much. Worse, young Americans are not prepared for the demands of being an adult.

When I started my teaching career in 2011 after retiring from engineering, I was shocked at how much coddling American students had. I taught at a private college prep school. The first math quiz I gave was not challenging and could be completed during a regular class. Yet, a significant percentage of students didn’t finish it and asked for an extension. I wanted to teach them a life lesson to work harder and be more disciplined going forward. But they complained to the headmaster, and I had to give them another class time to finish the quiz at the cost of most students who had completed it.

More and more American parents have realized that there is not much learning going on in schools. But is this the result of failure, or is it intended by design?

Ms. Zhang notices that America’s higher education has changed for the worse:

This phenomenon started in higher education. For years attending American universities, I have been disturbed to watch colleges fabricate “anxiety” and “depression” in students who are not mentally ill. Administrators have used grossly exaggerated terms such as “trauma,” and melodramatic expressions such as “I cannot begin to imagine what you have suffered,” to turn into a catastrophe what is best described as disappointment. This creates a culture of victimization.

As a victim of and an eyewitness to China’s Cultural Revolution, I appreciate Ms. Zhang for her effort to wake up the American people. We do have a determined enemy without, and we may also have an enemy within. Both are working toward the destruction of America and Western Civilization.

grew up during China's Cultural Revolution and immigrated to the US in 1995. He became a high school math teacher after having worked as an engineer for 20 years. Disillusioned with the current schooling model, he became an independent math teacher/tutor in 2018. He writes mainly on education and culture.

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