Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Some Problems With American Education

American politicians and education busybodies sometimes suggest that the South Korean school system is one the U.S. should copy. However, Korean education methods and practices actually should be avoided. A standardized test reigns supreme over the future of Korean students and a top-down system of state-controlled curriculum prevents local control and teacher creativity. Korean classrooms are filled sleepy teenagers who nap during boring, mandatory daytime classes because they must stay up late at night attending tutoring courses for which their parents pay. In 2011, Korean parents spent almost $18 billion on tutoring to supplement public education. So many students sleep during classes that special forearm pillows are sold to make sleeping at their desks more comfortable.

Many students who want to do well on the all-important state-administered test that students take at age 18 must attend after-school tutoring late into the night. Special police patrols go out at night to shut them down at 10 p.m. But, many remain open until 2 a.m. Despite ample evidence that Korea’s public education system is not adequate, some American politicians continue to suggest we should copy South Korea. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has twice chastised American parents for not being more like parents of Korean students.

American parents need to be aware that the system some want us to emulate is actually very complex and contains some very bad ideas. We do not have to look across the globe to find the best educators for our children. Most of what is wrong with American education could be remedied by giving parents more control over what is taught and what is not taught to their children. We should not turn over our children’s futures to a government bureaucracy.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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