December 2013 Archives

Meet 续德寿 (Tony). Right now, he is an 8th grade student at Big Dynasty Mountain Middle School in one of the poorest areas in Yunnan, China. I greatly admire Tony - in contrast with his frail and weak body, he has a steadfast spirit. Despite his mother's suicide, his father's severe alcoholism, his poor household, his lacking Mandarin, and the black coal stove next to the bed he shares with his grandma, Tony works hard every single day for a better future - his better future. But I worry about the exhausting road ahead of him, which not includes extremely ...


This week, I was invited to take part in Teaching Ahead's Roundtable discussion to share what the U.S. can learn from other countries. The thing is, the story of what America can learn from China after Shanghai skyrocketed to No. 1 on the PISA exam has been told over and over by people way smarter than me. Additionally, there is so much I don't actually want other countries to learn from China - our intense testing system, the hyper-focus on rote memorization, corporal punishment, 60-student class sizes, the quotas for high school and college entry... These things are already ...


Over the past two years or so, I've noticing aging. Not my own exactly, but the aging of my parents and those of my friends as the ones we love face diabetes, dementia, and in two or three cases, death. That it why it was so magical when my parents visited me at work this past summer for when I was running Teach For China's 300-plus person Summer Institute. I'm slightly ashamed to admit this, but it took them traveling more than 36 hours by plane, taxi, bus and rickshaw to rural China for two weeks for me to realize ...


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