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Education Arms Race

SMW, August 10, 2010 7:22 AM

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Prev. Published The Daily Riff 1/19/10

Outnumbered?  Sure. Yet Are We Dumping Valuable Assets? 
 Dr. Yong  Zhao
and
"2 Million Minutes" Bob Compton
Duke It Out In One Of The Most Important Debates in Education Today


Zhao and Compton have been fierce combatants in education circles recently but hidden from the rest of us not privy to this edu-insider world.

On one end of the ring: 
Yong Zhao is the University Distinguished Professor of Education at Michigan State University, where he also serves as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence.  More ed-creds below.

On  the other end of the ring:
Bob Compton, active philanthropist, traveler, Chairman & CEO, entrepreneur, former venture capitalist,  and multiple board member, graduated from Principia College with a B.A and Harvard with an MBA in Business Administration.  More ed-creds below.

(Editor's Note and Update:  This post was previously published in 2010.  Compton co-produced The Finland Phenomenon AFTER producing 2 Million Minutes which is of interest since Finnish education is markedly different from education in India and China, the two other countries featured in the former documentary.)

Let's start with Zhao, his position expressed in a stunning 10-minute video below.  A must watch and well worth the trip. Once you think you have his gist a few minutes in, he reveals more surprises:

  •  against the "dictatorship" role of education vs. a more local role;
  • while the Chinese may have more numbers graduating college, they cannot be hired to do the job since they are unable to apply the knowledge to actually do something with it;
  •  how the culture of the U.S. is superior in how we promote and integrate innovation,  creativity and arts;
  •  how we must promote learning through individual passions and how the Chinese do not a have a culture "promoting a diversity of talents that helps keep a country vibrant".

Below is Compton's point-of-view with his 3 minute "2 Million Minutes" trailer video below, (representing the 2 million minutes students typically spend in their high school years in school) by taking us on a  behind-the-scenes  journey of six high school students:  two Americans, two Chinese and two from India, comparing their lives, study habits, curriculum, and culture.  Also is the "2 Million Minutes - 21st Century Solution" trailer video below the first  (runs all of one minute),  featuring the BASIS school in Arizona,  which Compton chose as an illustration a U.S. example that incorporates both creativity and a tough curriculum:

"First, based on 25 years as an entrepreneur and high-tech investor, it is my strong belief that every job will require higher cognitive skills in the 21st century than in the 20th century. I have witnessed this cognitive increase in my own companies just in the past 10 years.
Most jobs our children will have don't even exist now - they have yet to be created. Jobs like SEO Manager or Social Media Manager weren't even in existence 10 years ago. Now they are high-paying careers.
From that premise, I believe American children would be well served with a deeper and longer education in math, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science.
The mental rigor of these classes, combined with the technical cognitive development, will simply be the "entry ticket" for high-wage, high-growth jobs of the 21st century - IMHO. "

For more ed-creds, link here for full bio to Zhao and here for bio to Compton.

TDR featured Zhao in post titled, The Chinese Curse - Is America Next?
linked here.

What's your riff on this?
BELOW:
#1 - Yong Zhao video about US vs. Chinese education  (this may appear just as a line and arrow but when you click on the arrow, a video will appear)
#2 - Trailer for Compton's Two Million Minutes
#3 - Trailer for Comption's Follow-up Film








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