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U.S. vs highest-achieving nations in education

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  • Todd Groves
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/darling-hammond-us-vs-highest-achieving-nations-in-education/2011/03/22/ABkNeaCB_blog.html?fb_ref=Network
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 5, 2011
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    • Ann
      I felt the article may be misleading by painting just the rosie side of the picture for at least one country. I spent my 2nd to 11th grade in Singapore in the
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 10, 2011
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        I felt the article may be misleading by painting just the rosie side of the picture for at least one country.

        I spent my 2nd to 11th grade in Singapore in the 80's. Yes, the government is very focused on education, I think even college was "free" public education at least back then. However, knowing what I know about Singapore, I don't believe the Singapore teacher's union (if they even had one) has as much power or benefits as those in the US. They are likely passing down orders from the government instead of passing demands to the government.

        Funny the article did not mention how Singapore students are separated by ability starting in elementary school. They have to take a test to graduate elementary to middle school. You apply to middle schools based on the school's academic standing and your test scores regardless of where you live. The students are tested again in order to graduate from middle to high school. Again you apply to junior college or high schools based on your test scores. So maybe that's the equal access to quality education model we should adopt in the US - based on test scores not geography.

        I also know the Singapore parents do a lot of privately paid tutoring, regardless of income level. They are also much more supportive of the school, and behavioral problems are dealt with quickly. When I went to Singapore at 2nd grade not knowing a word of English, it was sink or swim on our own. My parents helped me with schoolwork and paid for tutoring out of their limited income. There were no government paid programs to help me "get up to speed" or learn English. There were no excuses for achieving academic success on your own in Singapore. I know that based on the many low income students my friends, my sister and I tutored for a fee when we're in school there.

        So based on my personal knowledge of Singapore, I doubt their success is as simple as how well their government collaborates with the teachers, or how much training the teachers get. I don't disagree training programs for teachers are very much needed and value-adding, and should be fairly distributed. But I also believe their government has no problems measuring teacher performance using test scores, and the teachers probably have little say-so in the matter. Everything in their education system is one giant test score.

        As for the teacher's pay being same as doctors - I can see a doctor in Singapore for a flu for US$17 with no insurance - and that's higher than what locals pay because I'm a foreigner. That's less than my copay here WITH medical insurance. I would be curious to find out where the teacher's salary cap out. I have a feeling it's less than the US.


        Ann




        --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Groves" <tag1022@...> wrote:
        >
        > http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/darling-hammond-us-vs-highest-achieving-nations-in-education/2011/03/22/ABkNeaCB_blog.html?fb_ref=NetworkNews
        >
      • Todd Groves
        Thank you for the illuminating personal perspective. I recently saw data showing Singapore spending a little more than 3% of GDP on education, while the US
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 11, 2011
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          Thank you for the illuminating personal perspective. I recently saw data showing Singapore spending a little more than 3% of GDP on education, while the US spends 5%. Singapore outscores the US by far on PISA tests.

          A thorough look at harder measures of educational productivity can be found here http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/01/educational_productivity/report.html .

          Another take on the international comparisons can be found here http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/22/think_again_education . Alarmism is all the rage, with some justification.

          The international comparisons are not necessarily the only ones to worry over. Visiting a Danville middle school a few weeks ago, I might well had been in another country. Their students yearly take the regional math competition with little more preparation than Portola's humble team. On paper, per pupil funding is relatively the same as WCCUSD. In reality, parents pay for class size reduction and a host of other services. It's a quasi-private public school. While our district takes a "Remediation for All" definition of equity, their classes are vigorously tracked by performance.

          Should WCCUSD kids have a crack at comparable rigor and challenge? Are we doing kids favors by lulling them into a false sense of accomplishment? In talking with middle school teachers in Albany and Danville, their biggest subgroup needing remediation are the kids coming in from districts like ours.

          Linked learning and the academies provide a good start, so long as students have resilience. Uncertainty characterizes the world our kids will inherit. The primary skill needed for the next 50 years according to some thinkers is crisis management. These kids were raised in the plumpest of times. We are obligated to help them adjust to a new reality.

          Todd Groves






          --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "Ann" <annpalmer8@...> wrote:
          >
          > I felt the article may be misleading by painting just the rosie side of the picture for at least one country.
          >
          > I spent my 2nd to 11th grade in Singapore in the 80's. Yes, the government is very focused on education, I think even college was "free" public education at least back then. However, knowing what I know about Singapore, I don't believe the Singapore teacher's union (if they even had one) has as much power or benefits as those in the US. They are likely passing down orders from the government instead of passing demands to the government.
          >
          > Funny the article did not mention how Singapore students are separated by ability starting in elementary school. They have to take a test to graduate elementary to middle school. You apply to middle schools based on the school's academic standing and your test scores regardless of where you live. The students are tested again in order to graduate from middle to high school. Again you apply to junior college or high schools based on your test scores. So maybe that's the equal access to quality education model we should adopt in the US - based on test scores not geography.
          >
          > I also know the Singapore parents do a lot of privately paid tutoring, regardless of income level. They are also much more supportive of the school, and behavioral problems are dealt with quickly. When I went to Singapore at 2nd grade not knowing a word of English, it was sink or swim on our own. My parents helped me with schoolwork and paid for tutoring out of their limited income. There were no government paid programs to help me "get up to speed" or learn English. There were no excuses for achieving academic success on your own in Singapore. I know that based on the many low income students my friends, my sister and I tutored for a fee when we're in school there.
          >
          > So based on my personal knowledge of Singapore, I doubt their success is as simple as how well their government collaborates with the teachers, or how much training the teachers get. I don't disagree training programs for teachers are very much needed and value-adding, and should be fairly distributed. But I also believe their government has no problems measuring teacher performance using test scores, and the teachers probably have little say-so in the matter. Everything in their education system is one giant test score.
          >
          > As for the teacher's pay being same as doctors - I can see a doctor in Singapore for a flu for US$17 with no insurance - and that's higher than what locals pay because I'm a foreigner. That's less than my copay here WITH medical insurance. I would be curious to find out where the teacher's salary cap out. I have a feeling it's less than the US.
          >
          >
          > Ann
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "Todd Groves" <tag1022@> wrote:
          > >
          > > http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/darling-hammond-us-vs-highest-achieving-nations-in-education/2011/03/22/ABkNeaCB_blog.html?fb_ref=NetworkNews
          > >
          >
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