The reader writes: “One thing I have repeated heard in this
‘Ed Reform’ talk is that American kids need to ‘catch up’ with kids
from other countries because we are behind in those international
tests. I grew up in China, where there is very rigorous curriculum;
where frequent testing and ranking of students is part of a
student’s life the moment the child walks into a school; where
students do perform well in internationally-benchmarked tests. “Is
that what some ed reformers here are going after? If so, I would
suggest that they take a look at how lost and uninspired to learn
college freshman year students are in China; how students, even at
very young ages, cheat on tests so that they can rank higher in
their class and consequently get to better schools; how many
people, like myself, still have nightmares about not being able to
finish all the questions on a test, even in our adulthood. “Go
visit a Chinese airport, or bus stop, or subway station. See if you
can spot people reading while waiting. Likely not – because
people’s desire to read, to explore, to think and keep learning was
killed long ago, inside the schools, by those tests…”