We have heard for years about the alleged superiority of Chinese education, based almost entirely on test scores on international assessments in which Shanghai comes out on top. Chinese-American scholar Yong Zhao warns in his books that Chinese education is not the paradigm that the Western media has fallen for. One scholar, Tom Loveless of Brookings, warned that Shanghai’s test-taking students were not representative of China. But they were ignored, and so we have been deluged with books and articles about why we should retool our education system so we could “surpass Shanghai” and why American mothers should get Tough and become “tiger moms.”
Education in China, Christopher Balding writes, is so underdeveloped that it is a threat to the nation’s economic goals.
“A widely held view in the West is that China’s schools are brimming with math and science whizzes, just the kind of students…
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