The Achievement Gap

7 02 2011

I don’t know how many of you have heard of Amy Chua, the “Tiger Mom” but I’ve recently been exposed to several articles about her and her parenting style. If you haven’t heard, she is of the mind that children should not have play dates, sleepovers, should not be in school plays or school sports, anything less than an A is unacceptable, they must play piano or violin, and so on. In her opinion, her style of parenting is why American children perform so much more poorly on average than Chinese children. There have been many articles refuting and condemning Chua’s methods but the fact remains, Chinese children far outperform American children in reading, math and science.

I have my own opinion – untested and unverified – of why the achievement gap exists. For American children, all the professions that are the most glamorized – athletes, musicians, actors – require little to no education. Sure, education may help in those professions, but kids don’t realize that. Meanwhile, many of the smart kids – the “nerds”, the ones who are good at reading, math and science – are ostracized and ridiculed. I know there’s a lot more involved in kids’ development than dividing everyone up into nerds and cool kids. But I really believe that the lack of highly educated role models for children and abundance of little-educated role models has a significant contributory effect on American’s relative scholastic achievement.

If anyone knows of any research done on this particular topic please point it out to me.




3 responses

7 02 2011

Even if the “Tiger Mom” was deemed to be the ideal for America, how do you level the playing field so that the “American Dream” is available to everybody? I am working with a neighborhood leadership program in Liberty City (Miami) and how does an inner-city mom compete? The only “American Dream” available to those kids are the so-remote-as-to-be-almost-impossible chance that their athletic talents will be discovered by a scout, or their singing talent will make them the next rap or hip-hop star. And when neither of those are in the cards, and you have 74% unemployment in the minority population young adult sector…where do you go next?

7 02 2011

For my capstone class of my bachelor’s degree I needed to open a WordPress blog and couple it with a new webpage. It is in its infancy, but take a look at the “mashup” I am in the process of creating. Sound is coming this Wednesday.

It has to do with this topic.

10 05 2014
Patricia Morgan

How about the fact that not all Chinese children get into school? Do they even have public education? Chinese children in school are the best, brightest and richest. They are a very populated, but very third-world country. Let’s compare apples to apples shall we? We can compare their dumbest with our dumbest 8th grade drop-outs and see who really wins.

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