WhiteSites Blog

South Korean Schools are Obama's vision of excellence

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 by Paul White

South Korea takes education very seriously.  After reading out their system I feel like my high school diploma is even worthy to be used as toilet paper.   Read this excerpt from Wikipedia

Because of the importance of the university entrance examination in determining one's career prospects, students are under intense pressure to study long hours. The high school years, especially, are a time when students have little chance to do much except study. The Korean saying "Sleep five hours and fail, sleep four hours and pass" is taken seriously; for three years students typically begin school at 6 a.m. and finish at midnight; some students finish at 10 p.m. and go to hagwons until midnight or 1 a.m. Students can forgo the 10 p.m. to midnight classes and self-study sessions but only with permission from both their parents and their homeroom teacher, and few bother to ask. The schedule lasts seven days a week and is rigorous even during periods of nominal vacation. It is not uncommon during exam periods to see students sleeping during class from exhaustion. Students are encouraged to see themselves as being in fierce competition with their friends and peers.

This is unreal!  6am - midnight 7 days a week.  I used to swim in high school, and this resulted in being at school from 5am - 6pm, 5 days / week.  Obama wants to push us in this direction.  I think its a good idea, but if you change the lives of young people this radically, it is sure to have some rather large impacts on the economy.  If kids never have time to do anything but study, they don't work and they don't spend money.  Even though the long term results are worth it, I fear that the short term results are many businesss will fail. 

Another interesting fact was that koreans don't consider physical activities to be educational.  Thus many schools have limited if any sports.  Their entire focus is on their studies.  Also english is one of their main studies, meaning when they graduate, they can come over here and get jobs, most of us won't be able to get.

Of course this doesn't surprize me.  I remember growing up, and watching shows on TV like saved by the bell, pretty harmless family entertainment. But today the shows kids see have girls getting pregnant, drugs, alcohol, violence, ect...  I also remember back when MTV used to play music videos. Now its just a bunch of overly dramatic reality shows, that are all pre scripted, with actors ( not real people ).  The media has made this type of behavior acceptable to young people.  Maybe the only way to correct it is to violently swing back to a disciplined education system.

The teacher's unions aren't happy about this.  In my view. Unions are nothing more than a group of people who have organized for the purpose of slowing down change.  Unions have no purpose in our economy, much less our education system. 

I am conservative, but I support what Obama is pushing for.

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