As a social Democrat who has several decades of public education research and degrees I know that the Finnish model is not as Michael Moore promotes in his documentary is NEW FINNISH MODEL. The graph he shows in that film is completely misleading as to American education achievement and classrooms being low quality from 1960s --- 1980s. I want to talk about how Moore jukes these stats and why he somehow is the only documentary film producer who sees his films hit many main street movie theaters across the US at a very, very global Wall Street period. Moore is sold as a far-left documentary film producer and yes, he outs bad policy. He states in these films all released in several years what we have known since Clinton era---and each time Moore comes out with these 'left-leaning' films----it happens Congress is doing Gun Control reform, health care reform, and education reform. Keep in mind---those Congressional pols are raging Clinton/Obama Wall Street neo-liberals intending to advance policy in those areas to make these social services WORSE ----NOT BETTER. Affordable Care Act dismantled our Federal public health-----Race to the Top dismantled our Federal public education---and Obama's gun control was a Johns Hopkins WAR ON GUNS---not the social progressive approach to reasonable gun control policies.
MICHAEL MOORE'S DOCUMENTARIES GET AMERICANS UP IN ARMS FOR CHANGE AT A TIME WHEN MOORE KNOWS THE POLS IN POWER WILL ONLY MOVE BAD GLOBAL CORPORATE POLICIES.
So, social Democrats have always seen the problems Moore is showing---he simply has the power in his documentary to give these issues a different SPIN.
First let's talk about the graph Moore shows in that clip I shared----where the US and Finland are traveling at the bottom of the graph through 1960s-1980s and then suddenly the Finns shot up to the top of this spike on the graph in the 1990s forward.
London Play added a new video: Clip from
"Where to Invade Next".
April 25 at 5:30pm · Here's a puzzle. Finnish children spend comparatively little time at school, don't get homework and yet receive one of the best educations in the world. Curious? Watch how the Finns did it in this clip from Michael Moore's compelling documentary film 'Where To Invade Next?'
Moore's graph shows Finland's rise in the 1990s and US declines in 1990s. It was at that time PISA standardized testing expanded to what were the G-20---from the G-8....meaning those nations tied to International Economic Zones vs what was Japan, Europe, Canada, and US. Finland and US were shown lower on the graph early because those other nations were not included---not because our education stats were bad. It spiked when the G-20 nations were included and Finland remained at the top because it never defunded and dismantled its public education system as the US did under Clinton/Bush/Obama. That is why the US is at the bottom and Finland at the top.
Keep in mind as Wall Street global pols were installing all this global PISA standards, education advocates from all these nations were shouting against this---NO ONE WANTS IT EXCEPT GLOBAL WALL STREET WANTING TO MAKE A GLOBAL COMPETITIVE EDUCATION CORPORATION ECONOMY.
This article is long but please glance through----it shows how the world does not like this system being built simply so global corporate education businesses can compete.
OECD and Pisa tests are damaging education worldwide - academics
In this letter to Dr Andreas Schleicher, director of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment, academics from around the world express deep concern about the impact of Pisa tests and call for a halt to the next round of testing
School children in Sichuan province in China. Academics say the OECD should develop alternatives to league tables and find more meaningful ways of reporting assessment, taking account of different cultures.
Photograph: James Zeng Huang/Corbis SygmaTuesday 6 May 2014 02.00 EDT Last modified on Thursday 5 May 2016 21.14 EDT
We write to you in your capacity as OECD's (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) director of the Programme of International Student Assessment (Pisa). Now in its 13th year, Pisa is known around the world as an instrument to rank OECD and non-OECD countries (60-plus at last count) according to a measure of academic achievement of 15-year-old students in mathematics, science, and reading. Administered every three years, Pisa results are anxiously awaited by governments, education ministers, and the editorial boards of newspapers, and are cited authoritatively in countless policy reports. They have begun to deeply influence educational practices in many countries. As a result of Pisa, countries are overhauling their education systems in the hopes of improving their rankings. Lack of progress on Pisa has led to declarations of crisis and "Pisa shock" in many countries, followed by calls for resignations, and far-reaching reforms according to Pisa precepts.
Read moreWe are frankly concerned about the negative consequences of the Pisa rankings. These are some of our concerns:
• While standardised testing has been used in many nations for decades (despite serious reservations about its validity and reliability), Pisa has contributed to an escalation in such testing and a dramatically increased reliance on quantitative measures. For example, in the US, Pisa has been invoked as a major justification for the recent "Race to the Top" programme, which has increased the use of standardised testing for student-, teacher-, and administrator evaluations, which rank and label students, as well as teachers and administrators according to the results of tests widely known to be imperfect (see, for example, Finland's unexplained decline from the top of the Pisa table).
• In education policy, Pisa, with its three-year assessment cycle, has caused a shift of attention to short-term fixes designed to help a country quickly climb the rankings, despite research showing that enduring changes in education practice take decades, not a few years, to come to fruition. For example, we know that the status of teachers and the prestige of teaching as a profession have a strong influence on the quality of instruction, but that status varies strongly across cultures and is not easily influenced by short-term policy.
• By emphasising a narrow range of measurable aspects of education, Pisa takes attention away from the less measurable or immeasurable educational objectives like physical, moral, civic and artistic development, thereby dangerously narrowing our collective imagination regarding what education is and ought to be about.
• As an organisation of economic development, OECD is naturally biased in favour of the economic role of public [state] schools. But preparing young men and women for gainful employment is not the only, and not even the main goal of public education, which has to prepare students for participation in democratic self-government, moral action and a life of personal development, growth and wellbeing.
• Unlike United Nations (UN) organisations such as UNESCO or UNICEF that have clear and legitimate mandates to improve education and the lives of children around the world, OECD has no such mandate. Nor are there, at present, mechanisms of effective democratic participation in its education decision-making process.
• To carry out Pisa and a host of follow-up services, OECD has embraced "public-private partnerships" and entered into alliances with multi-national for-profit companies, which stand to gain financially from any deficits—real or perceived—unearthed by Pisa. Some of these companies provide educational services to American schools and school districts on a massive, for-profit basis, while also pursuing plans to develop for-profit elementary education in Africa, where OECD is now planning to introduce the Pisa programme.
• Finally, and most importantly: the new Pisa regime, with its continuous cycle of global testing, harms our children and impoverishes our classrooms, as it inevitably involves more and longer batteries of multiple-choice testing, more scripted "vendor"-made lessons, and less autonomy for teachers. In this way Pisa has further increased the already high stress level in schools, which endangers the wellbeing of students and teachers.
These developments are in overt conflict with widely accepted principles of good educational and democratic practice:
• No reform of any consequence should be based on a single narrow measure of quality.
• No reform of any consequence should ignore the important role of non-educational factors, among which a nation's socio-economic inequality is paramount. In many countries, including the US, inequality has dramatically increased over the past 15 years, explaining the widening educational gap between rich and poor which education reforms, no matter how sophisticated, are unlikely to redress.
• An organisation like OECD, as any organisation that deeply affects the life of our communities, should be open to democratic accountability by members of those communities.
We are writing not only to point out deficits and problems. We would also like to offer constructive ideas and suggestions that may help to alleviate the above mentioned concerns. While in no way complete, they illustrate how learning could be improved without the above mentioned negative effects:
1 Develop alternatives to league tables: explore more meaningful and less easily sensationalised ways of reporting assessment outcomes. For example, comparing developing countries, where 15-year-olds are regularly drafted into child labour, with first-world countries makes neither educational nor political sense and opens OECD up for charges of educational colonialism.
2 Make room for participation by the full range of relevant constituents and scholarship: to date, the groups with greatest influence on what and how international learning is assessed are psychometricians, statisticians, and economists. They certainly deserve a seat at the table, but so do many other groups: parents, educators, administrators, community leaders, students, as well as scholars from disciplines like anthropology, sociology, history, philosophy, linguistics, as well as the arts and humanities. What and how we assess the education of 15-year-old students should be subject to discussions involving all these groups at local, national, and international levels.
3 Include national and international organisations in the formulation of assessment methods and standards whose mission goes beyond the economic aspect of public education and which are concerned with the health, human development, wellbeing and happiness of students and teachers. This would include the above mentioned United Nations organisations, as well as teacher, parent, and administrator associations, to name a few.
4 Publish the direct and indirect costs of administering Pisa so that taxpayers in member countries can gauge alternative uses of the millions of dollars spent on these tests and determine if they want to continue their participation in it.
5 Welcome oversight by independent international monitoring teams which can observe the administration of Pisa from the conception to the execution, so that questions about test format and statistical and scoring procedures can be weighed fairly against charges of bias or unfair comparisons.
6 Provide detailed accounts regarding the role of private, for-profit companies in the preparation, execution, and follow-up to the tri-annual Pisa assessments to avoid the appearance or reality of conflicts of interest.
7 Slow down the testing juggernaut. To gain time to discuss the issues mentioned here at local, national, and international levels, consider skipping the next Pisa cycle. This would give time to incorporate the collective learning that will result from the suggested deliberations in a new and improved assessment model.
We assume that OECD's Pisa experts are motivated by a sincere desire to improve education. But we fail to understand how your organisation has become the global arbiter of the means and ends of education around the world. OECD's narrow focus on standardised testing risks turning learning into drudgery and killing the joy of learning. As Pisa has led many governments into an international competition for higher test scores, OECD has assumed the power to shape education policy around the world, with no debate about the necessity or limitations of OECD's goals. We are deeply concerned that measuring a great diversity of educational traditions and cultures using a single, narrow, biased yardstick could, in the end, do irreparable harm to our schools and our students.
Andrews, Paul Professor of Mathematics Education, Stockholm University
Atkinson, Lori New York State Allies for Public Education
Ball, Stephen J Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education, Institute of Education, University of London
Barber, Melissa Parents Against High Stakes Testing
Beckett, Lori Winifred Mercier Professor of Teacher Education, Leeds Metropolitan University
Berardi, Jillaine Linden Avenue Middle School, Assistant Principal
Berliner, David Regents Professor of Education at Arizona State University
Bloom, Elizabeth EdD Associate Professor of Education, Hartwick College
Boudet, Danielle Oneonta Area for Public Education
Boland, Neil Senior lecturer, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand
Burris, Carol Principal and former Teacher of the Year
Cauthen, Nancy PhD Change the Stakes, NYS Allies for Public Education
Cerrone, Chris Testing Hurts Kids; NYS Allies for Public Education
Ciaran, Sugrue Professor, Head of School, School of Education, University College Dublin
Deutermann, Jeanette Founder Long Island Opt Out, Co-founder NYS Allies for Public Education
Devine, Nesta Associate Professor, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Dodge, Arnie Chair, Department of Educational Leadership, Long Island University
Dodge, Judith Author, Educational Consultant
Farley, Tim Principal, Ichabod Crane School; New York State Allies for Public Education
Fellicello, Stacia Principal, Chambers Elementary School
Fleming, Mary Lecturer, School of Education, National University of Ireland, Galway
Fransson, Göran Associate Professor of Education, University of Gävle, Sweden
Giroux, Henry Professor of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University
Glass, Gene Senior Researcher, National Education Policy Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Glynn, Kevin Educator, co-founder of Lace to the Top
Goldstein, Harvey Professor of Social Statistics, University of Bristol
Gorlewski, David Director, Educational Leadership Doctoral Program, D'Youville College
Gorlewski, Julie PhD, Assistant Professor, State University of New York at New Paltz
Gowie, Cheryl Professor of Education, Siena College
Greene, Kiersten Assistant Professor of Literacy, State University of New York at New Paltz
Haimson, Leonie Parent Advocate and Director of "Class Size Matters"
Heinz, Manuela Director of Teaching Practice, School of Education, National University of Ireland Galway
Hughes, Michelle Principal, High Meadows Independent School
Jury, Mark Chair, Education Department, Siena College
Kahn, Hudson Valley Against Common Core
Kayden, Michelle Linden Avenue Middle School Red Hook, New York
Kempf, Arlo Program Coordinator of School and Society, OISE, University of Toronto
Kilfoyle, Marla NBCT, General Manager of BATs
Labaree, David Professor of Education, Stanford University
Leonardatos, Harry Principal, high school, Clarkstown, New York
MacBeath, John Professor Emeritus, Director of Leadership for Learning, University of Cambridge
McLaren, Peter Distinguished Professor, Chapman University
McNair, Jessica Co-founder Opt-Out CNY, parent member NYS Allies for Public Education
Meyer, Heinz-Dieter Associate Professor, Education Governance & Policy, State University of New York (Albany)
Meyer, Tom Associate Professor of Secondary Education, State University of New York at New Paltz
Millham, Rosemary PhD Science Coordinator, Master Teacher Campus Director, SUNY New Paltz
Millham, Rosemary Science Coordinator/Assistant Professor, Master Teacher Campus Director, State University of New York, New Paltz
Oliveira Andreotti Vanessa Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequality, and Global Change, University of British Columbia
Sperry, Carol Emerita, Millersville University, Pennsylvania
Mitchell, Ken Lower Hudson Valley Superintendents Council
Mucher, Stephen Director, Bard Master of Arts in Teaching Program, Los Angeles
Tuck, Eve Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Native American Studies, State University of New York at New Paltz
Naison, Mark Professor of African American Studies and History, Fordham University; Co-Founder, Badass Teachers Association
Nielsen, Kris Author, Children of the Core
Noddings, Nel Professor (emerita) Philosophy of Education, Stanford University
Noguera, Pedro Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education, New York University
Nunez, Isabel Associate Professor, Concordia University, Chicago
Pallas, Aaron Arthur I Gates Professor of Sociology and Education, Columbia University
Peters, Michael Professor, University of Waikato, Honorary Fellow, Royal Society New Zealand
Pugh, Nigel Principal, Richard R Green High School of Teaching, New York City
Ravitch, Diane Research Professor, New York University
Rivera-Wilson Jerusalem Senior Faculty Associate and Director of Clinical Training and Field Experiences, University at Albany
Roberts, Peter Professor, School of Educational Studies and Leadership, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Rougle, Eija Instructor, State University of New York, Albany
Rudley, Lisa Director: Education Policy-Autism Action Network
Saltzman, Janet Science Chair, Physics Teacher, Red Hook High School
Schniedewind, Nancy Professor of Education, State University of New York, New Paltz
Silverberg, Ruth Associate Professor, College of Staten Island, City University of New York
Sperry, Carol Professor of Education, Emerita, Millersville University
St. John, Edward Algo D. Henderson Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan
Suzuki, Daiyu Teachers College at Columbia University
Swaffield, Sue Senior Lecturer, Educational Leadership and School Improvement, University of Cambridge
Tanis, Bianca Parent Member: ReThinking Testing
Thomas, Paul Associate Professor of Education, Furman University
Thrupp, Martin Professor of Education, University of Waikato, New Zealand
Tobin, KT Founding member, ReThinking Testing
Tomlinson, Sally Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths College, University of London; Senior Research Fellow, Department of Education, Oxford University
Tuck, Eve Coordinator of Native American Studies, State University of New York at New Paltz
VanSlyke-Briggs Kjersti Associate Professor, State University of New York, Oneonta
Wilson, Elaine Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge
Wrigley, Terry Honorary senior research fellow, University of Ballarat, Australia
Zahedi, Katie Principal, Linden Ave Middle School, Red Hook, New York
Zhao, Yong Professor of Education, Presidential Chair, University of Oregon
Moore used that film to make it sound like education in Finland and US was dismal and unsuccessful through that 1960-1980s window when it was not. The US last century produced the best doctors, engineers, teachers, CEOs for national industry in the world---most graduating from our American public schools using what Moore now says is a NEW FINNISH MODEL.
THE GRAPH SHOWING FINLAND AND US TRACKING ALONG THE BOTTOM FROM 1960-1980S SIMPLY SHOWS THESE TWO NATIONS AS THE BEST OUT OF THE G-8 NATIONS WHICH WERE ALL PERFORMING WELL ----CANADA, US, EUROPE, JAPAN all had installed through modern history our social democratic structure for public education---the FINNISH MODEL LATER BECAME.
Baby boomers know our public school structures included morning and afternoon recesses and physical education classes for the students because it was known a century ago children need that break and physical activity WHILE THEY ARE TRYING TO LEARN. Our lunch breaks used to be an hour---then went to 45 minutes----now it is mostly 30 minutes. Students have always been encouraged to play with strong athletic fields and playground all built and funded with taxpayer revenue often tied to Federal education funds.
Social democratic education research in early 1900s showed children's ability to learn drops dramatically after 5 hours---the Finnish model uses 4 hours. Research showed children lose interest in a subject after 50 minutes of focus and that is why our classroom subjects were tied to that period of time. It worked FINE FOR A CENTURY----I knew no one graduating not able to read or do math and without an exposure to liberal arts and humanities ---enough to broaden interest as adults.
ALL OF THESE EDUCATION RESEARCH AND POLICIES WERE WHAT US PUBLIC SCHOOLS USED FROM EARLY 1900s----so the FINNISH MODEL simply brought that to Finland and the graph shows Finland and the US tracking together using this education model as best in the world.
BELOW YOU SEE THE PROPAGANDA OF WALL STREET GLOBAL EDUCATION CORPORATIONS. ASIAN NATIONS WITH THE HYPER-COMPETITIVE CORPORATE EDUCATION MODEL DOES INDEED WORK THEIR STUDENTS FAR TOO LONG AND ASIAN PARENTS AND STUDENTS HAVE BEEN FIGHTING THIS FOR DECADES AS HARMFUL AND NOT PRODUCTIVE.
Time in school: How does the U.S. compare?
There is a perception among policymakers and the public that U.S. students spend less time in school than students in other countries. As U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan stated at a recent Congressional hearing:
"Our students today are competing against children in India and China. Those students are going to school 25 to 30 percent longer than we are. Our students, I think, are at a competitive disadvantage. I think we're doing them a disservice."
But is perception reality? Do students in other countries spend more time in school than students here in the U.S.? Secretary Duncan provided data to back up his claims. But do those claims tell the whole story? This brief takes a closer look at the data to answer the question:
Do U.S. students spend less time in school than students in other countries?
First we’ll examine the specific claim that children in India and China spend 25 to 30 percent longer in school than students in the U.S. Then, we’ll compare the amount of instructional time states require compared to what the rest of the world requires, including high-performing countries such as Korea, Finland, and Japan.
Are students in India and China required to go to school longer than U.S. students?
The answer appears to be no. According to data from the OECD and the World Data on Education, students in China and India are not required to spend more time in school than most U.S. students.
How Time Was Calculated
For this report, time measurements were based on the minimum number of hours of instruction per year (also known as compulsory hours) countries require their public schools to provide in a formal classroom setting. However, not all countries’ statutes explicitly define what counts as instructional time. In general, they include actual instruction time, so lunch is typically not included. However, recess and transition time between classes are explicitly included in some statutes while excluded in others. While this report attempts to provide the best possible comparisons, the data should not be read as the exact number of hours of teaching students receive.
For most countries, the instructional hours were taken from the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2011 Table D1.1. The OECD table did not provide instructional hours for the United States, since compulsory laws are set at the state level. Therefore, state-by-state data was taken from the Education Commission of the States’ (ECS) Number of Instructional Days/Hours in the School Year (August 2011). For India and China, instructional hours were taken from the World Data on Education Seventh Edition 2010-11. These reports were used because they each based instructional time on the statutes that dictate the minimum number or hours/days of instruction schools are required to provide.
While these reports’ numbers may not capture the precise amount of teaching students receive, they do provide the best apples-to-apples comparison of how much instructional time countries expect all of their students to receive.
TIMSS is one of the few reports that does compare countries’ actual teaching time, even though it does not include all developed countries mentioned in this report. To see how much math instruction U.S. students receive compared to other countries, check out this data.
How do we know this? Since every state has its own time requirements for schools, it is difficult to compare the U.S. as a whole to other countries. (see box) However, time requirements typically do not vary dramatically from state to state. Most require between 175 and 180 days of school and/or between 900 and 1,000 hours of instructional time per year, depending on the grade level. Without the ability to compare instructional time as a whole for the U.S., we’ll compare instructional time in China and India to 5 states that enroll a significant portion of U.S. students—California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts.
It is also important to keep in mind that the time students spend in school varies by grade level. In most countries, younger children receive fewer instructional hours than students in higher grades. That is the case in India and China as well. In India, schools are open 200 days a year for grades 1-5, for a total of 800 instructional hours per year, compared to 220 days and 1,000 instructional hours in grades 6-8 (World Data on Education). This could be the source of Secretary Duncan’s assertion: 220 days is nearly 25 percent more than the typical 180 days students attend school in the U.S.
But this does not mean they are receiving 25 percent more instruction because the total actual instructional hours are quite similar. For example, India’s 800 instructional hours at the elementary school level is actually less than what is required at the elementary level in California (840 hours), Florida (900 hours in grades 4-6), New York (900 hours), Texas (1,260 hours1), and Massachusetts (900 hours). As a matter of fact, just 8 states2 require fewer than 800 hours of instructional time. Even in most of those states, the reduced hours only apply to grades 1 through 3. Interestingly, fewer hours do not seem to relate to student performance. Elementary students in half of these states perform above the national average3, while in the other half elementary students score below the national average.
The 1,000 instructional hours India requires in grades 6-8 (middle school) is similar to the requirement in most states. According to the Education Commission of the States (ECS), 35 states4 require at least 990 hours of instruction at the middle school level, including Texas (1260 hours5), New York (990 hours) and Massachusetts (990 hours). Even though middle school students in India attend nearly 25 percent more days of school per year than U.S. students, they are not required to receive more hours of instruction.
Determining required school time in China is not so straightforward. The data is not clear about the number of days students in China attend school, as that varies by region. However, we used multiple sources to estimate the number of hours per year students in China attended school. According to the OECD, the number of weeks of instruction in China is 35 compared to the U.S.’s 36 weeks. Some Chinese students attend school six days a week, so even though the U.S. has more instructional weeks Chinese students could be attending school nearly 20 percent more days per year.
Students in China may attend more days of school each year, but the key question is, are they receiving more hours of instruction? To find the answer, we combined data from the World Data on Education-- which provided the number of courses per week schools are expected to offer—with data from OECD on weeks of instruction to determine total instructional hours per year. The data shows that Chinese students in primary grades (grades 1-5) take 34 courses per week at 45 minutes6 apiece. This equates to nearly 900 hours of instruction per year, which is similar to or less than many U.S. states, including Florida, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts. At the middle school level (grades 6-8), Chinese students attend just under 1,000 hours of school per year, a figure similar to that of most U.S. states. Just as with India, the data shows that Chinese students are not required to receive 25 to 30 percent more in-school instruction per year than U.S. students.
Do other countries require more instructional hours for students than the U.S.?
China and India are important comparisons, but other countries could provide even greater insight into whether U.S. students are spending as much time in school, particularly countries that typically score high on international assessments, such as Korea, Japan, Finland, and Canada, as well as economic competitors such as England, France, Germany, and Italy. The data set that allows us to do this comes from the OECD. It does not include the number of school days, but looks directly at required instructional hours.
According to the OECD, the hours of compulsory instruction per year in these countries range from 608 hours in Finland (a top performer) to 926 hours in France (average) at the elementary level, compared to the over 900 hours required in California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts. Of particular note, no state requires as few hours as Finland, even though Finland scores near the top of nearly every international assessment. As a matter of fact, Vermont – a high-performing state7 -- requires the fewest number of hours (700 hours) for its elementary students (grades 1-2) than any other state, and it still requires more than Finland. Vermont’s requirement is also more than the 612 hours high-achieving Korea requires of its early elementary students. Moreover, all but 5 states require more hours of instruction at the early elementary school level than the OECD countries8 average of 759 hours.
At the middle school level, total hours of instruction range from 777 hours in Finland (a top performer) to 1001 in Italy (an average performer). Three of our 5 large states, New York (990 hours), Texas (1,260 hours), and Massachusetts (990 hours) would rank near the top of all industrialized nations in number of hours required. California and Florida would rank near the middle at 900 hours but still above the OECD average of 886 hours. It should be noted that even at the middle school level, countries like Japan and Korea require fewer hours (868 and 867 respectively) than most U.S. states. So by the 8th grade, students in most U.S. states have been required to receive more hours of instruction than students in most industrialized countries, including high-performing Finland, Japan, and Korea.
In most countries, there is a significant increase in the time students are required to be in school at the high school level. In the U.S., most states require the same number of hours in high school as in middle school. Just as they did at middle school level, Finland (856 hours) and Italy (1,089 hours) required the fewest and most hours of instruction respectively. Italy’s 1,089 hours surpasses all but 2 out of our 5 selected states. Texas requires 1,260 hours of instruction at the high school level, while California requires 1,080 hours. Korea requires 1,020 hours of instruction at the high school level. Nearly half (22) the states require more instructional hours than Korea. Moreover, the vast majority of states (42) require more hours of instruction than the OECD average of 902 hours. Again, there’s no evidence that students in other countries are required to receive more instruction than students in the United States.
Are U.S. students receiving less instruction?
The data clearly shows that most U.S. schools require at least as much or more instructional time as other countries, even high-performing countries like Finland, Japan, and Korea. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these comparisons are based on required minimums. It’s possible that certain schools in these countries and states do provide more time for instruction. Furthermore, students in countries like China, India, Japan, and Korea have a tradition of receiving additional instruction through non-formal schooling such as tutoring and night schools, especially at the high school level, which could also have an impact.
However, the point should not be lost: the U.S. does not require schools to provide less instructional time than other countries.
Basing policy decisions on this false perception alone could be costly and provide no clear benefits. Providing extra time is only useful if that time is used wisely. As the Center’s report Making Time found, the relationship between time and student learning is not about the amount of time spent in school. Rather, it is how effectively that time is used. And this report has also shown that there is no relationship between simply requiring more time and increased achievement. The data shows that a number of countries that require fewer hours of instruction outperform the U.S., while the U.S. performs as well as or better than some other countries that require more hours of instruction.
Providing additional time can be an effective tool for improving student outcomes, but how that time is used is most important. Before policymakers and education leaders decide to increase the time students spend in school, they should first consider these things from the Making Time report:
Determine how effectively school time is currently being used. For instance, states that are considering increasing instructional time should examine their academic standards along with all other requirements schools are expected to provide to determine whether they currently require enough school time to meet them.
Explore scheduling alternatives that use existing time. For example, school districts could consider implementing a year-round calendar with the standard 180 days as a way to offset summer learning loss.
If considering block scheduling, look at the research. Block scheduling is intended to increase time on task, but the research results are mixed, with the 4X4 block producing the least gains. However, block scheduling can also provide time for teachers’ professional development or pull-out time for struggling students.
Low-cost options, like four-day weeks, can prove beneficial to achievement as well. The research isn’t definitive, but some districts that have tried this are seeing unintended benefits in the form of higher test scores, decreased disciplinary problems, greater collaboration among teachers, and higher morale.
Logistics can be challenging, but are solvable. In considering any change to school schedules, the biggest hurdle will often be logistics. Cost and child care (for instance, in moving to a year-round schedule) can be two of the biggest hurdles. Look at school success stories like this one to see how some school districts addressed these concerns.
It is interesting to see where K-12 education structures in two nations would lead to two very different societal structures as well. The Asian far-right autocratic and authoritarian societal structure builds into the Asian neo-liberal education system installed decades ago -----we see with the reforms taking place under Race to the Top the lessons coming from corporations----Common Core detailing what information and how to model it all creates that authoritarian capture of learning----both the teacher and student are now not questioning or trying to change what is presented---they just do it. This is the opposite of the Finnish model which was the US model for a century----and that is because Western nations are free and open while Asian are closed and autocratic with no democratic or rights as citizen government structures.
Since the far-right Bush/Hopkis neo-cons and Clinton/Obama neo-liberals want America modeled on Singapore and China---as regards societal and government structures---they are pushing Race to the Top to install this Asian hyper-corporate education model creating data that means nothing to support it.
Below you see an Asian business person adapting to a European or Finnish business environment-----that same business team coming to the US would be teaching Americans their Asian model of business because all that European stuff is SOCIALIST.
AN ASIAN AUTHORITARIAN LEADING A TEAM IN FINLAND, BIG FAILURE
.May 30, 2015
As an Asian, I grew up in a hierarchy culture. I am used to taking orders as a child, I do what it is told to me, most of the time. ;) I have high respect for seniors and those who are higher ranked. Needless to say, we don’t call each other by the first names. That is considered rude. We use nice titles like grandma, auntie, Sir, Madam, Miss etc.
When I used to be a dance teacher, I was highly respected. Because I was THE teacher. No one talks back and they do as I say. No questions asked, no challenging my view.
Now this same person, a young CEO in the social society of Finland, I have been so lost. People don’t do what I say because I said so. This is so frustrating!
Here in Finland, leadership style is very complicated. Respect is apparently earned, not assumed. So for me, a young, foreigner girl who speaks Finnish like a five year old, should lead a team of eight among other responsibilities I have… like keeping the business afloat and growing it. You have probably guessed, I am not the most natural to ask opinions and feedback of everyone of my team before I make a decision! So, I am sorry. :(
As you can imagine, I have been on a bumpy ride leading this small team of eight in the first months. However many lessons learned and I am nowadays, wiser. One of the philosophies I swore by is: Happy employees = happy guests.
To put together a happy team is easier said than done in this industry of hospitality. Long working days, irregular hours, physical work, low appreciation from society, limited career advancement… The job itself doesn’t sound like a dream.
My task as a leader: put together and retain a happy team. In these 3 years, I have come to a conclusion that the biggest motivation factors of my team members are: People (customers and colleagues) and Meaning.
There are many things I am doing and trying to do in fulfilling these motivators:
- Development discussion quarterly.
- One on one discussions of career development, performance, work/life wellness, goal setting.
- Team meeting monthly.
- Discuss company operations as a team. Updates on company performance and directions.
- Wine evening occasionally.
- Discuss company’s matters in a casual setting allowing everyone to contribute in the decision-making process.
- Sparkling Friday weekly.
- Every Friday we take a moment to gather the team and thank them for their good work of the week. Each member takes turn to address the team weekly. (Idea credit: Ida Hakola)
- Take Your Team Out Day monthly.
- Every month one member takes the whole team out to do the sport of his/her preference. (Idea credit: Laura Tomula)
- Summer Party
- A fun day out with the team with proper programme, food and drinks before everyone goes for summer holiday. E.g. last year we went to sail to Pihlajasaari for picnic, beer tasting and games.
- A fun trip with the team after the busy Pikkujoulu season in Huone. E.g. last year we flew to Rovaniemi for a 3days 2nights all-inclusive hunt of the northern lights.
- Employee birthday ceremony
- We take a moment with the birthday star, sing birthday song, eat cake and cherish the moment. Huone has a present prepared also.
- Plan Kummi
- Every fulltime employee is given a choice to support a kummi. He/she can select the country and the sex of the child. Huone pays for the monthly contribution for the Plan Suomi but the employee is responsible for the letter exchanging and engagement with the child.
- Community give back
- Huone is planning elderly home visits where we bring some goodies and programme to spend time with the local elderlies.
- Daily breakfast and lunch
- Huone’s employees enjoy the daily breakfast and lunches in Huone for free.
- Birthday present
- Christmas present
- Other miscellaneous e.g. full insurance coverage, phones etc.
Baby steps of building a dream team…CHECK!
The conditions for education created by social Democracy in the US and those in Europe still maintaining those education standards not only created the highest achievement in the world----it created a love of learning---a lifetime learning model continuing into adulthood-----beyond college. Meanwhile in the US all that public university and social democratic ideal of loving learning and life-time learning with free public education was dismantled since Clinton---and Obama super-sized this process as now it is all about finishing education as quickly as possible and into a vocation and any more education after that ----JOB TRAINING, JOB TRAINING, JOB TRAINING. This is the same for Asian neo-liberal education and the reason is tied to this----THERE IS NO PROFIT TO BE MADE FROM LEISURELY LIFELONG LEARNING GEARED TO HUMANITIES AND ARTS----so there is now no public revenue being sent to this. Keep in mind----the US sent hundreds of billions of dollars in Federal funding to create all levels of this life-long learning for a century and all that is now being outsourced to job training, vocational businesses and education non-profits that will simply be folded into global education corporations.
Bernie Sanders shouts for free 4 years-----I would hope he embraces the social Democratic model and not simply want to replace our high school grades with 4 year vocational apprenticeships as is the goal with Clinton/Bush/Obama Wall Street global corporate policies----AS IN MARYLAND ASSEMBLY AND BALTIMORE CITY HALL AS IN DIXON, PUGH, STOKES, EMBRY, AND WARNOCK-----see why Baltimore Development and its 'justice' non-profits only highlight these Wall Street candidate? Who is tied to Hopkins? BUILD PUSHES ALL HOPKINS POLICIES----IT PROMOTES WALL STREET CANDIDATES---AND THEN IT SPENDS THE YEAR SAYING IT WORKS FOR EDUCATION JUSTICE. This is just one but it captures all education policy and talk when the largest non-profits are working for Wall Street.
Pushing the funding of two and three years of pre-school is very Asian neo-liberal as more and more Federal funding that would go to our regular classrooms is moved to what will be a profit-driven structure. Even the policy of free 4 year college could be made into policy that simply replaces our high schools and sends students right from 9th grade into the workforce which is very far-right. Bernie as a social Democrat would be looking at this Finnish model for free 4 years of university AND WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO FIGHT FOR THIS---THIS IS THE PATHWAY TO MIDDLE-CLASS being dismantled by Clinton/Obama Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals
Why Finland and Norway still shun university tuition fees – even for international students
February 17, 2015 1.13am EST
International students: you can still study for free in Helsinki. hugovk, CC BY-NC-SAAuthor
- Jussi Välimaa Professor, Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä
Jussi Välimaa has received funding from the European Science Foundation, The Finnish Academy, European Commission, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, Finnish Work environment Development Foundation and from other public funding agencies.
The Conversation is funded by Michigan, Boston U, Ohio State, Case Western Reserve, Florida, UMass Amherst, Georgia State, Michigan State, Rutgers Newark, Penn State, South Florida, Texas A&M, SUNY ESF, Albany, Binghamton, UT Austin, Tufts, U of California, Vanderbilt, Henry Luce Foundation.
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All the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – provide higher education free of charge for their own citizens and, until recently, international students have been able to study free too. But in 2006, Denmark introduced tuition fees for international students coming from outside the European Union and European Economic Area. In 2011, Sweden followed suit. Now only Finland, Norway, Iceland and Germany do not collect tuition fees from international students.
Despite some moves to introduce fees, all these countries remain real exceptions in a world where international students are often a lucrative source of income for universities.
In Finland, the issue reared its head again last year when the government proposed that universities would be able to introduce fees for international students coming from outside the EU after 2016. After a lively public debate, in January the Finnish government decided not to go ahead with the proposals.
Researcher Leasa Weimer’s recent study concluded that the main actors opposing tuition fees were the powerful Finnish student organisations. They feared that collecting tuition fees from international students would open the gate to tuition fee reform for national students as well.
Those students, politicians and academics resisting tuition fees also said that a tuition-free system supports international social justice by giving students from developing countries an opportunity to participate in higher education.
They also argued that the introduction of tuition fees would undermine Finnish internationalisation efforts as it would be likely to lead to a significant decrease in the number of international students – as happened in Denmark and Sweden after the introduction of tuition fees there. In Sweden the drop was 80% during the two years following the introduction of fees.
New source of revenue
On the other side of the debate, the promoters of tuition fees – which include university managers, the ministry of education and business representatives – advocated a neo-liberal stance on education as a private good. They argued that competition for international students would enhance the quality of teaching and make Finnish universities more competitive in the international marketplace.
They also pointed out that it was unfair for Finnish taxpayers to pay for the education of international migrants’ coming to Finland where they also enjoy good social benefits. This argument has gained traction as a populist political view in Finland. Promoters also claimed that international students would be a new source of revenue for universities.
In November, Norway’s government backed down from a proposal to introduce fees. The main arguments against the reform were quite similar to those aired in Finland: student organisations, in particular, feared a “domino effect” by which tuition fees for international students would be the first step in introducing them for domestic students.
The rectors of Northern universities and university colleges – some of which are geographically remote – argued that they would lose many international students, especially Chinese and Russian students, if they started charging tuition fees.
According to Agnete Vabo at the Norwegian Institute for Studies in Higher Education and Research, the leaders of the most prestigious universities in Norway also argued that tuition fees would mean a great loss in terms of maintaining the diversity and quality of the international student population. In a globalised world this would be very problematic.
Equality key in Nordic model
We know that education is expensive everywhere – including in Nordic countries – and that someone has to pay for it. The crucial question is who. But to answer this, it is important to pay attention to the differences between the societal goals and social dynamics of higher education in Nordic countries and countries which charge university tuition fees, such as the UK, US or Australia.
The Nordic higher education systems are almost entirely publicly funded. According to OECD Education at a Glance 2014 the proportion of public funding varies between just under 90% in Sweden and 96% in Norway and Finland, whereas in England only 30% of the costs of higher education are paid by the public purse.
CC BYAll Nordic countries also have a strong tradition of equality, which in education translates into offering equal educational opportunities for all citizens. The Nordic countries have policies to encourage gender equality and to support students from lower socio-economic groups to enter universities.
As a result, there is greater equality of educational opportunity in Nordic countries. Finnish students whose parents went to university are only 1.4 times as likely to participate in tertiary education as their peers whose parents did not got to university, according to the OECD. In Sweden, a young person with university-educated parents is 2.3 times more likely to go to university themselves, while in the UK they are six times more likely.
Yet perhaps the most important difference between the Nordic countries and countries such as the UK is the ethos of education as a civil right and a public service rather than a commodity. Degrees are not seen as commodities to be exchanged in the marketplace.
As the cases of Sweden and Denmark show, the neo-liberal argument for education is not unknown in Nordic countries. But a strong counterargument is rooted in the values of Nordic welfare societies which see higher education primarily as an equality issue.
A high level of education is beneficial for the development of society including business and industry, making it a collective economic issue. With this argument, education is defined neither as a private investment nor a commodity, but a civil right. So, individual human beings should not have to pay for it.
If Obama really wanted pre-school for all he would have sent that funding down to be directed to each public school in the US----but he did not---he created block grants to create more non-profits that then can fund only selected public schools with these services and then those non-profits see funding disappear and are folded into global education corporations already doing pre-K overseas in Asia. When we see Republicans voting for pre-K as we do today you know it does not have anything to do with quality education because social Democrats have fought for several decades for this funding and never received it because it would have gone to strengthen public schools. Republicans drive this K-12 privatization so they are fine with subsidies building pre-K startups to fold into global education corporations.
American must watch this move towards 3 year pre-K hitting Asia and we saw Sweden----the idea that our children will hit corporate education as young as 2-3----is the very definition of totalitarian and that is to where global Wall Street is going.
HELPING THEM? What does that mean because we all know underserved communities do not feel that love. Indeed---global corporate policies are building a cradle to vocational career track for 90% of Americans A CAREER CONTINUUM ---I THOUGHT PUBLIC SCHOOL WAS ABOUT EDUCATING CITIZENS TO BE BROAD THINKERS -WHAT IS NECESSARY TO BE CITIZEN AND LEADER
"What we're doing is part of the education continuum," said Kubik. "We're talking about cradle to career continuum, not just K-12. We're unquestionably helping them get ready for next step. "
This statement defines the very structure of Asian neo-liberal education that Asian parents and students have fought for decades to be rid of.
Pre-K has always been a social Democratic policy---we want underserved children to have that extra window to develop learning and social skills for the coming classroom structures----but the difference between a local community school with community staff helping children through that process as opposed to corporate non-profits with VISTAS and people working to make that pre-K the next business model----NOT THE SAME.
Preschool For All: President Obama's Pipe Dream or Possibility?
February 14, 2013
By DEVIN DWYER
Devin Dwyer More from Devin »
Digital Correspondent, White House
via WORLD NEWS
(Image credit: Johnny Crawford/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP Photo)
ATLANTA - President Obama's goal of guaranteed preschool education for every American 4-year-old is arguably the boldest proposal of his second term - a sweeping expansion of the nation's taxpayer-funded public school system, bigger than anything in a generation.
It would also be expensive - by one estimate, costing $10.5 billion a year. In Georgia, where universal pre-K access is already the goal, officials put the annual cost at $10,000 per child.
But today Obama argued here that a sea change in expert thinking about pre-primary education shows that the investment is worthwhile and overdue, promising social and economic benefits for years to come.
"This is not babysitting," Obama said at an event at a suburban recreation center to promote his plan.
"Study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road," he said. "But here's the thing: We are not doing enough to give all of our kids that chance."
"The size of your paycheck, though, shouldn't determine your child's future. So let's fix this," he added.
Details of the plan and its exact price tag are still works in progress. But the White House points to Georgia - with its conservative, budget-conscious politics - as a model for the rest of the nation.
The state has been a pioneer in universal pre-K education since the 1990s, using funds from the state's lottery to expand early childhood programs and extend access to everyone. Most of the state's pre-K programs are essentially public-private partnerships.
"Universal pre-K is more difficult to do because you're opening it up to a larger group of children and that requires more funding. But Georgia has been doing this for 20 years," said Bobby Cagle, a Republican commissioner for the state's department of early care and learning.
The state currently has 84,000 four-year-olds enrolled in pre-K programs, but limited state funds have hampered efforts to keep up with demand. There are 8,000 kids on a waiting list, Cagle said.
The situation illustrates a major challenge facing Obama's goal of universal pre-K care.
"There are some families who opt not to do it - keeping children at home or in local programs that they are part of," said Paige McCay Kubik, a spokeswoman for Sheltering Arms Community and Family Centers, Georgia's oldest early childhood program at 125 years. "But funding is the top issue. … That's one of the reasons it's grown slowly."
Georgia's dismal high school graduation rate - just 67 percent, one of the worst in the country - also raises questions about whether expanding preprimary education will yield improved academic performance later on.
"The federal government has a poor track record of managing early childhood education initiatives, with mounting evidence that Head Start may not be helping students as much as we had hoped," said Republican Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, who chairs the House Committee on Education, of the federal government's existing early childhood program targeting low-income families.
"We all want to give children a solid foundation for a bright future, but that also means we can't saddle them with even more debt," he added.
But Cagle said the high school graduation rate is an imperfect measure, urging patience in measuring the benefits of pre-K investment over a longer term.
Teachers and administrators on the front lines, including Kubik, say numerous recent top university studies are showing that enrolled pre-K students demonstrate stronger academic and life skills years down the road.
Not having high-quality adult interactions at age four, for example, can lead to "weak brain structure" and poorer performance on reading and math skills, several studies show. Experts say there's not much kids can do to make up for that lost time later on.
"What we're doing is part of the education continuum," said Kubik. "We're talking about cradle to career continuum, not just K-12. We're unquestionably helping them get ready for next step. "
Kubik said over the long term, children who had an early education background have had lower rates of divorce, lesser chances of ending up in jail, better career advancement and higher incomes.
"That the dollar we're investing is saving us money on what we're not spending in the future," she said.
As for political appetite in Washington for more spending on early childhood programs, advocates say bipartisan support on the state level - including from Georgia's GOP Gov. Nathan Deal - means Obama's plan should not be ruled "dead on arrival."
"The biggest thing is that we're seeing - it's not just educators getting behind this, it's business people, criminal justice people, even the military - talking about starting early," said Kubik.
Added Cagle, "I know there are a lot of issues around budget that need to be straightened out, but we lawmakers in Washington can come together."
Remember, all of Clinton/Bush/Obama Wall Street global education reform structures are modeled on what has existed overseas-----most of these non-profit structures will be folded into global education corporations and much of what is our free K-12 public schooling will become for-profit ---and 90% of Americans will be tracked into what will be corporate campus schools driven to just educate enough for vocational placement as soon as 7th grade. This will not only take the hundreds of billions of dollars that is our Federal public education taxpayer funds---it will go beyond that and soak parents for their income to supplement---all while taxation rise to further subsidize global corporate structure expansion.
All of this to attain the same education achievement that existed in the US last century still modeled by Finnish schools having NONE OF THE ABOVE.
These Asian neo-liberal education structures were installed when International Economic Zones hit these nations----Asian parents may not even know about the Finnish model---this is all they know.
Asia’s parents suffering 'education fever'
By Yojana Sharma .
- 22 October 2013
- From the section Business
Image caption Not sports stars, but Chinese parents seeing off their children to take examsZhang Yang, a bright 18-year old from a rural town in Anhui province in China was accepted to study at a prestigious traditional medicine college in Hefei. But the news was too much for his father Zhang Jiasheng.
Zhang's father was partly paralysed after he suffered a stroke two years ago and could no longer work. He feared the family, already in debt to pay for medicines, would not be able to afford his son's tuition fees.
As his son headed home to celebrate his success, Zhang Jiasheng killed himself by swallowing pesticide.
Zhang's case is an extreme. But East Asian families are spending more and more of their money on securing their children the best possible education.
In richer Asian countries such as South Korea and emerging countries like China, "education fever" is forcing families to make choices, sometimes dramatic ones, to afford the bills.
There are families selling their apartments to raise the funds to send their children to study overseas.
Andrew Kipnis, an anthropologist at Australian National University and author of a recent book on the intense desire for education in China, says the amount spent on education is "becoming extreme".
Image caption Parents of students starting at Huazhong Normal University sleep in the gym It is not just middle-class families. Workers also want their children to do better than themselves and see education as the only means of ensuring social mobility. Some go deep into debt.
"Families are spending less on other things. There are many cases of rural parents not buying healthcare that their doctors urge on them... Part of the reason is that they would rather spend the money on their children's education," said Mr Kipnis.
"Parents may be forced to put off building a new house, which they might have been able to do otherwise," said Mr Kipnis who did the bulk of his research in Zouping district in Shandong province, among both middle-class and rural households.
"It can be very intense. They often borrow from relatives. Of course some people have difficulty paying it back," said Mr Kipnis.
A Euromonitor survey found that per capita annual disposable income in China rose by 63.3% in the five years to 2012, yet consumer expenditure on education rose by almost 94%.
It's not just the parents' incomes. Educating a child has become an extended-family project. "It goes beyond tiger mothers, it also includes tiger grandmothers and grandfathers," said Todd Maurer, an expert on education in Asia and partner at the consultancy firm, Sinica Advisors.
There is evidence of high levels of education spending in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Spending is also increasing in India and Indonesia.
Image caption South Korean parents bring their children to a smartphone addiction clinic In South Korea, where the government believes "education obsession" is damaging society, family expenditure on education has helped push household debt to record levels.
According to the LG Economic Research Institute, 28% of South Korean households cannot afford monthly loan repayments, and are hard pressed to live off their incomes.
A huge proportion of that income - 70% of Korean household expenditure, according to estimates by the Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul, goes toward private education, to get an educational edge over other families.
Families cut back on other household spending "across the board," said Michael Seth, professor of Korean history at James Madison University in the US and author of a book on South Korea's education zeal. "There is less money to spend on other things like housing, retirement, or vacations."
"Every developing country in Asia, specially China, seems to have a similar pattern," said Prof Seth.
A highly competitive examination system and rising aspirations are often blamed.
"The Korean education system puts enormous pressure on children," said Prof Seth." The only way to opt out of the system is not to have children. It is so expensive to educate a child that it is undoubtedly a factor in South Korea's very low birth rate," he said.
The education obsession is so all consuming that the South Korean government has unsuccessfully tried to curb it, concerned about family spending on extra-curricular lessons and cram schools for ferociously competitive exams.
While not yet at South Korean levels, China's education fever also puts pressure on family spending. A recent survey by market research company Mintel, found that nine out of 10 children from middle class families in China attended fee-charging after-school activities.
Image caption Monitoring radio signals to catch hi-tech exam cheats in Shandong province Parents believe these activities will help their children when it comes to university entry.
Children are being tutored for longer, starting younger. Where before it was for a year or two before the university entrance exam, now it can start in middle school or even primary.
Matthew Crabbe, Asia research director at Mintel, says that people in China are using the savings that might have been put aside for healthcare.
"But because the cost of education has risen and the competition for places at good universities have become so much more intense, they are investing more of their savings to make sure the child can get the grades they would need to get in."
It does not stop there. Nearly 87% of Chinese parents said they were willing to fund study abroad.
In the past an overseas education was confined to the most privileged. Now many more want foreign degrees to give them a shortcut to success.
According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a third of Chinese students studying abroad in 2010 were from working-class families.
Image caption A fire brigade's personnel carrier is used to make sure a flood does not prevent pupils getting to an exam in Ergun, northern China This is a massive financial burden and parents may not realise the true costs.
According to Zhang Jianbai who runs a private school in Yunnan province, parents in small provincial cities often sell their apartments to fund their children's study overseas.
"Parents decide very early on that their children are going to go abroad and that requires quite a bit of money because [the preparation] cannot be acquired through the public education system," said Mr Maurer.
It can include intensive English lessons, study tours to the US and significant payments for student recruitment agents.
Last year an estimated 40,000 Chinese students travelled to Hong Kong to take the US college admissions exam, the Scholastic Assessment Test (SATS), which is not offered in mainland China.
Chinese education company, New Oriental Education, organises SAT trips to Hong Kong for $1,000 (£627) on average, and parents spend up to $8,000 (£5,020) on tutoring.
Gambling on results
Once confined to affluent Beijing and Shanghai, it is an expanding market. The company expects its revenue to grow by over 40% in China's second and third tier cities.
Image caption Fudan University, Shanghai: Seven million Chinese youngsters graduated this year "Parents are surrendering their last resources to wager them on a child's future by sending them abroad," said Lao Kaisheng, an education policy researcher at Capital Normal University in Beijing.
It means that when young people graduate there is great pressure on them to start earning.
This is particularly an issue as record numbers of students graduate, seven million this year, and an overseas degree no longer has the status it had in the past. Many graduates languish in non-graduate jobs.
But it is not easy to dampen education fever. In South Korea as in other East Asian countries, "it is deeply embedded in the culture. It's also based on reality that there is no alternative pathway to success or a good career other than a prestige degree, this was true 50 years ago, and it's just as true today".
"As long as that's the case it's actually rational for parents to spend so much and put so much pressure on their children," said Prof Seth.
How much is 'education fever' a problem? Is it putting too much pressure on children and parents? Or should we see it as a sign of how much Asian families want their children to succeed?