Sunday, April 27, 2008

Initiatives to Inhabit Ivy-League Institutions

Admission in America's Ivy League institutions is a dream come true for some hardworking students. For most, it remains an ardent wish. For South Koreans, it has become a national passion if not an obsession. High Schools have been set up aimed at getting its students in a"pedigree" college of their choice under very rigorous schedules, a multitude of subjects, and a heaping number of individual course requirements. There are also "cram schools" that provide intensive tutoring programs specializing in SAT courses, the mandatory entrance exam for US universities. Korean parents are also moving their families abroad so children can study in foreign schools to master English before reaching high school.

The importance of getting a good education is an intrinsic value among Asians, because of the recognition that empowerment is built from the pursuit of knowledge. The history of most Asian nations is replete with the conquest by western powers owing to their superior knowledge and technologically advanced applications of scientific studies. The rise of Asia's tiger economies have given an added boost to the value of education in sustaining growth, competitiveness, global economic influence, equality and respect in the community of nations. The Koreans however, have taken this value several notches higher.

There are currently 213 Korean applicants to Harvard this year, with 37 undergraduates presently enrolled - more than any other foreign country except Canada and Britain. Harvard,
Yale and Princeton have a combined total of 103 Korean undergraduates. Between March 2007 to February 2008, 73,000 Korean elementary and middle school children left to study in foreign countries. Adults taking academic language courses increased in 2007 to 217,959 from 190,364 the year before. It has risen to roughly 33% for 2008. These are presumed to be parents and siblings of the younger children of school age. The Philippines alone has a population of 673,000 Koreans in its main island of Luzon. English, coupled with the western influenced urban culture, make it attractive for the end goals of Korean students preparing to go to the US. The cram schools expect foreign based Korean students to enroll this summer vacation to reach 25,000, to gain skills for admission in non-Ivy League colleges and universities.

Two of the most expensive and intense high schools established that gears its graduates only for "branded" American universities are Daewon Foreign Language High School and Minjok Leadership Academy. Both have a sensational record of admission in Ivy League colleges. In both schools, the school season is 1 month longer than the US, they have a 15 hour daily schedule of classes where the lecture based Korean national curriculum is supplemented by western style discussion classes. English language classes are taught by highly paid American and foreign ivy league graduates emphasizing composition, crucial SAT skills, admission essays, and unceasing study. Students are unmindful of suppressing romantic attractions as these fade with hundreds of hours of close quarters study.

Koreans in US schools are outnumbered only by Chinese and Indian students, largely due to their respective country's population size. But in percentages of students to population, Korea is slightly ahead. The tenacity with which the students pursue their goals, together with institutionalized support from Korean authorities is exemplary. It won't be surprising to expect China and India to follow suit. The technological savvy of a huge segment of their young and educated population is a force to reckon with; and ensuring entry of more students in "pedigreed" US colleges to learn what they know - and return to their respective countries to compete against US companies and products - is a winning strategic initiative.

In contrast, the continuous decline in the quality of high schools in the US has placed its future at a disadvantage in terms of competitiveness and knowledge. Students are not motivated and a general lack of respect for teachers, authority, and ethnic differences pervade its schools. Too much freedom, or too much rights, or too much of the good life have overpowered the hunger for learning and achievement. The pursuit of fame and fast income through shortcuts produces problems in terms of social responsibility for those who "make" it, and frustrations for those who don't. A confrontational orientation and exposure to a culture of violence compounds the chaotic environment of those who struggle to get by.

Are these developments signaling the end of the era of the white man?
Could this be the seeds for the fall of the American empire? If it is, Americans have not awakened to its impact yet.



Kim said...

very impressive statistics Durano...these kids are a credit to themselves and their parents...
obviously the teachers are fulfilling their duties as well ;)
very reassuring to know that some countries are getting it right when it comes to quality education for their youth :)

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

I can fully appreciate where you're coming from Kim and I realize being part of such a worthy activity is something you might love to be fully involved with. Being part of other people's development and success is seeing a part of yourself embraced and devoted to a noble endeavor.

It's a pity that some more advanced countries have not seen the value of good teachers committed to the blossoming of the capability of their students. Sadder still are those in authority who contribute to the moral corruption and subsequent decay of education. When will they realize that without education there is no freedom?

I pray that situations of this type be prosecuted fully and swiftly. Dragging it for long periods is an injustice to those students deprived of their rightful education, to those others affected by its impact, and to the nation for subverting freedom. :-) --Durano, done!

Tapline said...

Brad, As it relates to higher education, colleges and universities sent out scouts to foreign countries to recrut students. Hence large enrollments of foreign students in the US. This also fills their quota for minorities.....Education was always a priority with Asian peoples. where did the Gentry class come from?? I'm told, Students in Japan committed suicide if they got a bad grades and they studied day and night to pass the tests for admission....I'm afraid if the administration doesn't wake up to what is happening in our halls of higher education, we will continue on a downward spiril. They are being spoon fed leftist garbage and unless this is fed back to the instructors, the students get a bad grade. (no room for discussion, my way or the highway). I ramble....stay well...

upyours said...

The problem with American education is not that students are being spoon-fed leftist garbage. I'm sure there's enough rightist garbage being rammed down throats in universities too. In fact I can name at least one university devoted exclusively to rightist bullshit -- Pat Robertson's Regent University.
No, the problem with American education lies with the obsolete public elementary, middle and high school system, and the parents who take shit from their kids.

The Fitness Diva said...

It's true that other countries have learned to value education as a top priority, and capitalize on that, while the US has let it all slip by the wayside. This can be seen from grade school on up, as mentioned by Upyours. Our public school system is deplorable, and the only way to really insure that your child gets to develop and compete with the best of them is to put them in highly rated, expensive private schools, which not all can afford.

The rest of the world is indeed passing us by, and no, not all are yet aware of it. Americans are so accustomed to having been #1 all these years to such a degree that we can't even fathom or recognize our own decline in world status. We all have SUCH a false sense of security!

We have less qualified teachers in public schools nowadays because nobody wants to do such a thankless, underpaid, now dangerous job.
I remember coming across a message board site of teachers, posting back and forth to each other about their daily gripes. A couple of the posts on there had bad sentence structure, misspellings and incorrect grammar. From TEACHERS!!! I was in awe. If they don't know the correct way themselves, how they hell are they gonna teach it to a child?

Back when I was a student, our teachers were on top of everything. They were damn near perfect. Those days are over, I guess. Sad and scary!

And all you have to do to get a good read on the level of decline in American literacy is to come out on the internet and read comments on message boards any and everywhere. Half out here on the net can't even spell, or have no clue of proper sentence structure and syntax.

Yep. We keep it up and we will definitely end up being the dummies of the world.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Tapline,

The reason US colleges and universities recruit students from abroad is because of the appallingly low number of qualified graduates for college admission in the US.

The question is not what they are fed, it is their ability to learn, motivation to pursue studies, the drive to achieve and the will to win.

Being able to think for themselves is the hallmark of a good background to enter college. Students in high school do not even want to think.

The administration must wake up to the fact that the decay in high school must be addressed, and this is not just in the curricula but in social and legal aspects as well.
The academe and the "real world" must be coherent and harmonized. If the students see that the teaching in school is not relevant to the "real world" motivation to learn is eroded, more so with higher education. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Upyours,

I agree with you on the obsolete system of education in elementary, middle school, and high school. There are those who have attempted to upgrade teaching but receive little or no support.

Laws have protected the rights of children but remains silent on their responsibilities and obligation. The culture in America is skewed towards rights and freedoms, privileges and benefits, that more parents are confused as to how to raise their kids. They then relinquish discipline to the schools which overburdens the teachers.

Students have a general lack of respect for all authority and for ethnic differences, and their sentiments are focused on these factors which dilutes their interest to learn; and instead, heightens their desire to dominate through physical and mental methods such as taunting, name calling, bullying and outright violence.

The situation involves several factors, chiefly social, cultural, political and academic. :-) --Durano, done!

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Fitness Diva,

The statistical trend shows that home schooled students are better educated, better adjusted, and more respectful of authority. There are also more home schooled graduates who get to enter college.

This is not a firm fact as yet, but it is an indicator of motivation that is hinged on a caring parent, a wholesome environment, a conducive learning atmosphere, and an open and focused teacher-student communication.

This alone signals what contributes to a desire for learning and achievement.

Teachers of old were respected and loved. Today, they hardly merit a greeting from students.Has America given up on its kids? Then this is giving up on democracy.

This is going to signal the debacle of America in business, trade, and maybe military might. :-) --Durano, done!