The Promise and Perils of Sino-U.S. Educational Relations | USC US-China Institute
When and Where
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center-Wilson Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004
Today, educational questions are central to U.S.-China relations, although they are usually relegated to a secondary position in policy discussions. Yong Zhao and Karin Fisher will join the Kissinger Institute in launching a new effort “The Promise and Perils of Sino-US Educational Reforms” to make education a central bilateral concern on December 12, 2014.
Sino-U.S. educational exchanges have never been richer or benefitted more students. China wants to move away from test-driven education toward more “American” models that foster innovation; while the U.S., impressed by Shanghai’s performance on the PISA exam and worried about declining competitiveness, is moving in the “Chinese” direction of greater homework loads and constant testing. While American educators rediscover rote learning and rank schools based on test scores, wealthy Chinese send their children to U.S. schools, kindergarten through post-doc, in ever greater numbers—children who bring with them resources and talent that America needs. These dynamics offer opportunities for exchanges in primary, secondary, and higher education, and for joint discussion of psychology, pedagogy, and creativity. Chinese with experience in the U.S. and Americans who have studied in China will likely form a large, binational constituency for stable, productive relations.
At the same time, the sudden influx of Chinese students is overwhelming some American programs, challenging teaching practices and standards, and raising questions about how U.S. universities can “internationalize” while retaining “American” characteristics that make U.S. higher education the envy of the world. More fundamentally, mimicry of purportedly successful Chinese academic models may undermine traditional American educational goals: fostering individual judgment, encouraging critical thinking and intellectual diversity; training students to be effective citizens of a democratic system.
Educational relations have been an index and vector of national power, culture, and institutional practices since the United States first used Boxer Indemnity funds to offer scholarships to Chinese students in 1911. Today, educational questions are again central to U.S.-China relations, although they are usually relegated to a secondary position in policy discussions. Yong Zhao and Karin Fisher will join the Kissinger Institute in launching a new effort to make education a central bilateral concern on December 12, 2014.
Professor Yong Zhao
College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene
Author: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon:Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World
Senior reporter and expert in the business of international education and the globalization of universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Director, Kissigner Institute on China and the United States, The Wilson Center