Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World

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9781118487136: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World
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The secrets behind China's extraordinary educational system good, bad, and ugly Chinese students' consistently stunning performance on the international PISA exams where they outscore students of all other nations in math, reading, and science have positioned China as a world education leader. American educators and pundits have declared this a "Sputnik Moment," saying that we must learn from China's education system in order to maintain our status as an education leader and global superpower. Indeed, many of the reforms taking hold in United States schools, such as a greater emphasis on standardized testing and the increasing importance of core subjects like reading and math, echo the Chinese system. We're following in China's footsteps but is this the direction we should take? Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? by award-winning writer Yong Zhao offers an entertaining, provocative insider's account of the Chinese school system, revealing the secrets that make it both "the best and worst" in the world. Born and raised in China's Sichuan province and a teacher in China for many years, Zhao has a unique perspective on Chinese culture and education. He explains in vivid detail how China turns out the world's highest-achieving students in reading, math, and science yet by all accounts Chinese educators, parents, and political leaders hate the system and long to send their kids to western schools. Filled with fascinating stories and compelling data, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? offers a nuanced and sobering tour of education in China. * Learn how China is able to turn out the world's highest achieving students in math, science, and reading * Discover why, despite these amazing test scores, Chinese parents, teachers, and political leaders are desperate to leave behind their educational system * Discover how current reforms in the U.S. parallel the classic Chinese system, and how this could help (or hurt) our students' prospects


PRAISE FOR Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?

“This book unmasks the error of our policy makers’ obsession with test scores and their misguided determination to get higher scores than Shanghai. Yong Zhao explains why the pursuit of higher test scores is an unworthy goal, both for China and the United States, because it is essentially authoritarian and crushes creativity and fresh thinking.”
—DIANE RAVITCH, research professor of education, New York University; bestselling author, The Death and Life of the Great American School System and Reign of Error

“Zhao’s startling and masterful account is the best book ever written about China’s schools today. He exposes sloppy thinking on the part of people like me who thought the Confucian principles still at the core of Asian culture were all that were needed to push China and other East Asian countries far ahead of the rest of the world in school achievement. This is an irresistible story of both China’s weaknesses and ours, and how the two countries could make each other better if we conquered our mutual ignorance.”
—JAY MATHEWS, Washington Post education columnist; author, Work Hard. Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America

“This book is an important message to shake up the illusions we have about schooling in the East and the West. It shows how obsession to top the international education league tables is leading both the United States. and China away from what they should do instead: to prepare all their students to find their talents and to live good lives. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? is a masterpiece that only Yong Zhao could have written.”
—PASI SAHLBERG, visiting professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education; author, Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?

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