7a Near the beginning of the original “Back to the Future” movie, Dr. Emmett Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, calls Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, to assist his middle of the night roll out test, of the DeLorean time machine. Doc’s 2:00 a.m. call to Marty, finds Marty drooling on his pillow, fully clothed, face down in bed.
This is the exact position I find myself after my first FULL night in Beijing. Thankfully, I was so tired, I slept so hard that I feel great! Pull camera back and cue James Brown music.
Sushi, the Breakfast of Champions
I shower, blogged, and put on slacks and a button up shirt, to join my other US delegates for breakfast. It has been raining off and on here in Beijing. My green Crocs are by far the safest and most comfortable way to travel. (At least that’s what I tell every person that asks and looks down at my shoe selection.) And what kind of delegate would I be, if I slipped and fell? I don’t believe my feet dangling in the air would represent my HEB stakeholders very well. So Crocs wins out in my plus/delta thinking.
7:30a I have finally stopped asking, “What is that?” when going through the buffet line. I just quietly put it on my plate and keep adding. My use of chopsticks is now a “B-“ on our new rating scale. However, I am able to function fairly well without drawing too many local giggles from our hosts. Both Lisa and Debbe have me on a “CIP, chopstick improvement plan.” We’re a “continues improvement district,” and I am working to move from “Recognized” to “Exemplary” before the end of the trip.
I have been deemed the “official” trip taster by those around me. A designation, I truly don’t feel comfortable or knowledgeable to accept. My culinary array of fine food falls on spectrum of Ramen noodles, TV dinners, and fast food varieties. Nevertheless, my esteemed delegates need my distinguishing palette, and my worldly cooking experiences, to judge their eating habits. Fred, what is that purple thing on your plate?” “I don’t know let me taste it for you.” “It taste like the sweetness of an orange push-up you would get from the traveling neighborhood ice cream man, mixed with the waffle fries from your Chick-fil-a combo meals, but with the consistence and softness of left over pizza after you microwaved it a little too long on day three.”
8:15a I was asked to visit the Lincoln Ballroom to make my free gift book selection. They are going to send a library of children’s books to our district. Since I read Mandarin so well, I selected “all of the above.” I’m sure our awesome Mandarin teachers will be pleased.
How China Educates Kids
8:30a We spent half a day learning and studying about How China educates kids. It is here, I want to take an ADD pill, pour myself 3 Cups of Tea and try to get serious for moment.
I am going to summarize 10 pages of notes and give you the CliffNotes version of the largest public education system in the world. Ready?
Some Quick China Stats
- China covers a territory of 9.6 million meters.
- Population of 1.35 billion people with 56 ethnic groups.
- China invests 4% of the GDP verses the US spends double that, 8% GDP in Education.
Wait, read that again. They are spending 1/2 of what the US is per child.
China’s Challenges in Education
- Finances for Education
- Quality of Universities
- Education in Rural Areas
- Lack of Quality Teachers
- Work Study of Students Overloaded
- Need for More Vocational Learning
Wait, this list of challenges looks just like ours.
China’s 10 Year Plan from 2000 – 2010
Raise Quality in Rural Areas
- Eliminate Literacy in Adults
- Provide Free Books
- Giving Living Allowances for Poor Students
- Implement Robinhood Transfering 30% of Money from Rich to Poor areas
Professionalization of Teachers
- Teacher Certificates Required
- Higher Pay for Rural Areas
- Tuition Free College Education for Teachers
- 120 Hours in Service Training
- 540 Hours of Training for New Teachers
- Raised the “Status” of Teachers
They invest heavy in teacher education.
China’s Current 4 (traditional) / 8 (modern) Plan
1. Parents have high expectation of education.
2. Parents have instated a strong belief in very hard work.
3. Teachers are respected as parents.
4. Education is open for public examination.
They work very hard to change parent/child perspective of teachers. Respect.
1. Open door policy to study how others educate from around the world.
2. Long term reform and development plans.
3. Curriculum reform.
4. Modernize teaching approaches.
5. Five level teacher professional development.
6. Tackle low preforming schools.
7. Transfer 1/5 of all good teachers to poor districts.
8. Establish quota of testing for low performance schools.
What do you think about moving good teachers to bad areas?
What is China’s Forward Focus? 2010 and Beyond
- 3 Year Pre-School Plan
- Reformation of College Entrance Exams
- ICT Support
China’s View on Higher Education
Kids have choice, but we let fate decide. The cream will rise to the top.
1. Everyone applies for college entrance. If fail, go to #2.
2. Apply for vocational school. If fail, go to #3, if pass may elect #1 or #3.
3. Go to industry.
To be somebody, you must work hard and pass exams. There are no parent testing issues. Parents want tests. I’ve asked Mr. Zhang for a copy of his presentation. As it was amazing!
We had lunch and flew to our next providence, Jiangxi. Jiangxi is a province in the People’s Republic of China, located in the southeast of the country. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze river in the north into hillier areas in the south and east, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to the northwest. Jiangxi has 45 million people, 11 municipalities, 100 counties, 24,908 schools, 10.4 million students, 523k teachers. This place is big, they have more schools in this one providence than we have kids in HEBISD. Wow!!
Tomorrow we visit schools and see China’s education in action. Should be great!