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[2 Nov 2014 | No Comment | 1,858]
Latest Book: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World

Reviews, Interviews, and News
Diane Ravitch (Nov. 20 2014). The Myth of Chinese Super Schools. New York Review of Books.

Rick Hess (Nov. 13, 2014) Yong Zhao’s Biting Critique of the Chinese Edu-Miracle. Education Week Blog.

Jay Mathews (Sept. 14 2014) Why admiring Chinese test scores might hurt U.S. schools, The Washington Post
Didi Kirsten Tatlow (Sept 14 2014) Q. and A.: Yong Zhao on Education and Authoritarianism in China, The New York Times
Ryan Allen (Oct. 7 2014). New Books in Education, Audio Interview with Yong Zhao.
Jennifer Berkshire (Oct. 6, 2014). Questioning Authoritarianism, an interview with Y. Zhao. EduShyster.
David …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization, Technology »

[1 Nov 2014 | No Comment | 3,555]

Originally published in China-US Focus on October 23, 2015. Adapted from my book Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World.
China’s capacity for innovation has become a hot topic for China, the U.S., and the rest of the world today. There is no question that China must innovate its way out of the “middle income trap.” But whether the country – which over the last thirty years has proven to be able to make everything – can create anything …

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[7 Oct 2014 | One Comment | 1,908]

A few weeks ago, I wrote a response to Marc Tucker’s response to Diane Ravicth and Anthony Cody’s comments on Tucker’s proposal for fixing our national accountability system. My response was posted on Anthony Cody’s blog Living in Dialogue. Tucker followed with a response, in which he sort of agrees with my critique:
If [Tucker] believes “…that our test-based accountability system ‘is not only ineffective but harmful,’ he would logically suggest that system be abandoned.  Instead he tries to fix it and the fixes include more tests, more high stakes tests, …

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[13 Sep 2014 | 4 Comments | 14,395]

[This is the introduction to my latest book Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World published by Jossey-Bass in September 2014. Also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.]
In 2009 Dr. Beverly Hall, former superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools, was named America’s National Superintendent of the Year for “representing the ‘best of the best’ in public school leadership.”[1] Hall was hosted in the White House by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In 2010, the American Educational Research …

Blog, Education Reforms, Globalization, Technology »

[2 Jul 2014 | 16 Comments | 26,629]

Last year when my son graduated from college, I asked the question “can you stay out of my basement?” as I believe an important outcome of education is the ability to live out of one’s parent’s basement, that is, the ability to be an independent and contributing member of a society.
The Common Core and most education reforms around the world define the outcome of schooling as readiness for college and career readiness. But as recent statistics suggest, college-readiness, even college-graduation-readiness, does not lead to out-basement-readiness. Over 50% of recent college …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms »

[25 May 2014 | 10 Comments | 25,175]

“Not interested in #1 on International Tests, Focusing on Reducing Academic Burden: Shanghai May Drop Out of PISA” is the headline of a story in Xinmin Wanbao[original story in Chinese], a popular newspaper in Shanghai. Published on March 7th 2014, the story reports that Shanghai “is considering to withdraw from the next round of PISA in 2015” because “Shanghai does not need so-called ‘#1 schools,’” said Yi Houqin, a high level official of Shanghai Education Commission. “What it needs are schools that follow sound educational principles, respect principles of students’ …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[12 Apr 2014 | 4 Comments | 26,309]

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would suggest that PISA is a secrete plan of Western powers to derail China’s education reforms.  China has been working hard to introduce significant reforms since the 1990s to overcome the apparent shortcomings of its education system in order to cultivate a more diverse, creative, and entrepreneur citizenry. Such a citizenry is urgently needed for China’s successful transition from a labor-intensive economy to one that relies on innovation, …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[29 Mar 2014 | 7 Comments | 42,062]

How Does PISA Put the World at Risk: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Part 4
China’s poorest beat our best pupils—The Telegraph (UK), 2-17-2014
Children of Shanghai cleaners better at math than kids of Israeli lawyers—Haaretz (Israel), 2-19-2014
Cleaners’ children in China beat kids of US, UK professionals at maths: study—NDTV (India), 2-18-2014
Children of Chinese janitors outscore wealthy Canadians in global exams—The Globe and Mail (Canada), 2-19- 2014
These are some of the most recent sensational headlines generated by PISA with a 4-page report entitled Do parents’ occupations have an impact on student performance …

Blog, China/Chinese, Education Reforms, Globalization »

[23 Mar 2014 | 7 Comments | 25,906]

Few numbers command as much power as PISA scores, not even the number of Olympic medals or Nobel Prize winners in the world today. It is utterly shocking and embarrassing to see some otherwise rational and well-educated people (or at least they should be) in powerful positions believe that three test scores show the quality of their education systems, the effectiveness of their teachers, the ability of their students, and the future prosperity of their society.
PISA has become the star-maker in the education universe because of its bold claim to …

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[16 Mar 2014 | 7 Comments | 25,654]

authoritarian: of, relating to, or favoring blind submission to authority (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
authoritarianism: principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action (Encyclopedia Britannica)
PISA’s glorification of educational authoritarianism goes beyond its romanticization of the misery children suffer in authoritarian education systems as discussed in my last post. Because some authoritarian education systems seem to generate better PISA rankings, it has been concluded that educational authoritarianism, the systemic arrangements designed to enforce government-prescribed, uniform standards upon all children, should be emulated by the rest of the world. …