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Author Topic: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?  (Read 10098 times)

Yokie Kuma

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Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« on: September 06, 2011, 01:39:09 AM »
My wife (Chinese) and I (American) have a 2 year old daughter.  We live in Shenzhen.  Our daughter goes to nursery school here at an International School (costs $ and is taught by foreigners in English).

I keep thinking .... when she needs to go to school where she is taught and has homework, where is better?  Stay in China at an International School or back in the US at a public school?

I think the US public school will have a better program: more stable teachers, expanded classes and options, more extensive after-school programs, etc.

The International School in China is International.  Cultures. Ideas.  Not many kids get to go to school overseas .... that counts for something.

So ... some of you are parents with the same question.  Some of you are educators.  What are your thoughts?


Thanks,
YK
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Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 07:22:58 AM »
It really depends a lot on the specific schools.

Among Chinese international schools, some are excellent and some are completely dreadful...and exactly the same can be said of US public schools. So it's really hard to give advice on this in a general sense. Only you and your family can really answer the questions involved here.

One factor in the choice may be purely economic. International schools tend to be pretty pricey and gets more expensive with higher grades; you can find that you're shucking a lot of your shekels just for tuition. aoaoaoaoao  I don't know your particular circumstances, but by and large most expat English teachers don't make nearly enough money to make international school a realistic option.

Another factor to consider is the future...where do you see your child going to college, and entering the job market? Which choice, then, is going to best prepare your child for that?

Another factor has little to do with the schools, and much to do with the environment your child will be in when NOT in school.
In China the toxic air, water, and food should be considered. The disgraceful medical care should be considered. And the corruption that drenches China to the core should DEFINITELY be considered. This last was a big part of my decision to get my child the hell out of China, regardless of the cost to me...I didn't want my daughter growing up thinking such behavior was decent or acceptable. kkkkkkkkkk
But the USA side has hazards for kids, too....a lot more drugs, sex, and violence starting at a much younger age.

I wish I could be more help. But again, this really comes down to questions no one else can answer for you.
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zero

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2011, 06:32:30 PM »
One point to add. I imagine that going to international school for the long term would be like being a military brat. Although you might stay in the same place for a long time, your classmates won't, so it is a constant process of making and losing friends. Going through school with the same people year after year is valuable.

Also, if they go through international school the whole time and then graduate, then what? They're, presumably, American citizen. In order to form a sensible life, they're probably going to leave mainland China, back to the U.S. where they won't know anyone and won't really understand the culture. Or at least to Hong Kong. They're not ever going to be accepted as mainlanders.

As I see it, China just doesn't have a good niche for half-Chinese American citizens who grew up there. They could scrape around for ESL work, I guess, if that industry still exists then, but fresh-off-the-boat Caucasians from Iowa will probably still be favored.

So I'd say bring your daughter to the U.S., where she can integrate fully into the society. Otherwise she could end up feeling adrift.

Food for thought: If a half-Chinese person grows up in China, as a Chinese citizen and going to local schools, can the person ever become accepted as a mainlander -- get a local job, marry a local, etc.? In my opinion, yes. There will be stares, but I think the Chinese hukou and the local-accent Mandarin would be enough to create acceptance. However, you rarely see this happen -- when foreign citizenship is available, the parents almost always jump on it.

zero

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2011, 11:39:04 PM »
Another thought: The best of both worlds might be to do a few years here and a few years there, if your job and life afford you that flexibility. In the end, though, I'm like Raoul: I would want my kids enculturated, at the core, as Americans.

elzoog

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 12:52:50 AM »
My wife (Chinese) and I (American) have a 2 year old daughter.  We live in Shenzhen.  Our daughter goes to nursery school here at an International School (costs $ and is taught by foreigners in English).

I keep thinking .... when she needs to go to school where she is taught and has homework, where is better?  Stay in China at an International School or back in the US at a public school?

I think the US public school will have a better program: more stable teachers, expanded classes and options, more extensive after-school programs, etc.

Schools in the US will have gang violence, drugs, and possibly underage prostitution.  An average of 30% of students who go to high school don't graduate with one state (Georgia) being as high as 50%. 

If you try to get your daughter into the "better programs with more stable teachers" and you don't happen to live in the correct district, it's considered a felony and you could go to jail.

To prove I am not making this stuff up:

http://www.all4ed.org/files/Georgia_wc.pdf
http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/26/mom-jailed-for-enrolling-kids-in-wrong-school-district/

Basically, the US is towards the bottom in the developed world as far as the quality of it's education.   

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2011, 09:15:16 AM »
Especially when it comes to apostrophe use. uuuuuuuuuu

Actually, it's still very much a local phenomenon. There are still some good public schools in the USA...it varies a LOT from district to district, and even within districts.

The actual topic was internationals in China vs. public schools in the USA. And I still maintain that you can find both outstanding schools and terrible schools, and a roster of problems, on both sides of the equation. You've got to look at individual schools to get meaningful answers to the question. bjbjbjbjbj
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

The Local Dialect

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2011, 11:01:09 AM »
Another thought: The best of both worlds might be to do a few years here and a few years there, if your job and life afford you that flexibility. In the end, though, I'm like Raoul: I would want my kids enculturated, at the core, as Americans.

Yeah, I think this would be the best option. I want my kids in American schools by third grade at the latest. In my mind that is about when it starts to become more difficult to fit into a new culture, when social skills become more important, and being different is harder on kids. I also worry about their English skills just never being quite native by not having that total English environment. One day they will need to take the SATs and write college application essays and I don't want them to be at a disadvantage. I worry that even at an English medium school their English will lack just that certain something that they'd get from living in the environment (especially since we're a Chinese speaking household).

In an ideal world, I'd take my kids to do elementary school in the States, then during middle or high school take them back to China to do a year or two at an international school to reconnect with their "roots," solidify their language skills, and expose them to new ideas and cultures. I doubt this will ever really be feasible but I think that's what I would do if I had the option.

elzoog

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2011, 01:31:34 PM »
Especially when it comes to apostrophe use. uuuuuuuuuu

Actually, it's still very much a local phenomenon. There are still some good public schools in the USA...it varies a LOT from district to district, and even within districts.

The actual topic was internationals in China vs. public schools in the USA. And I still maintain that you can find both outstanding schools and terrible schools, and a roster of problems, on both sides of the equation. You've got to look at individual schools to get meaningful answers to the question. bjbjbjbjbj

While there may be good schools in the US as well as shit schools, the trouble is you can't really choose which school your kid goes to.   That is, unless you send your kid to a private school.  The school your kid goes to is determined by which district you live in.   If you try to get your kid into a better school by pretending to live in a different district then it is considered a crime and you could face jail time.

So, unless you have evidence that you don't have freedom to choose amoung the various China international schools, I would say on that basis, the China international schools would be better.

The Local Dialect

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2011, 02:29:04 PM »
That's simplifying things quite a big elzoog.

First, while it might not be the case for the OP, who lives in Shenzhen, most foreigners who live outside of the big 3 cities in China don't have a lot of choice when it comes to international schools. Most 2nd tier cities are lucky if they have even one true international school, much less a load of top quality schools to choose from. Some of these international schools are of a pretty questionable quality.

And you certainly can choose a school district in the States, it isn't as if you're randomly assigned to a school through by drawing straws or flipping coins. If you have the money then you can make sure to buy or rent in an area with good schools, problem solved. I'm assuming that people who can afford to pay for real international schools (which can cost over 20,000 dollars yearly and rarely cost less than 10,000 at a minimum), are probably not going to go back to America and live in the ghetto.

elzoog

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2011, 02:45:55 PM »
That's simplifying things quite a big elzoog.

First, while it might not be the case for the OP, who lives in Shenzhen, most foreigners who live outside of the big 3 cities in China don't have a lot of choice when it comes to international schools. Most 2nd tier cities are lucky if they have even one true international school, much less a load of top quality schools to choose from. Some of these international schools are of a pretty questionable quality.

And you certainly can choose a school district in the States, it isn't as if you're randomly assigned to a school through by drawing straws or flipping coins.

I hate to disturb peoples' fantasies by presenting reality, but morality obliges:

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/01/26/mom-jailed-for-enrolling-kids-in-wrong-school-district/

As to drawing straws or flipping coins that is exactly what some people do to try to get into a good school.  Unless you want to quibble that entering a lottery is not exactly the same as drawing straws or flipping coins

http://www.theredmountainpost.com/sidewalk-film-festival-presents-the-lottery-a-new-documentary-about-4-families-from-harlem-and-the-bronx-trying-to-get-their-children-into-a-good-charter-school-6384/

http://www.columbus.k12.oh.us/applications/FAQ.nsf/%28deadline%29?openview#3

The above one I will quote directly for you

Quote
3. What if I prefer a school other than my assigned school by address?


Parents/guardians may apply for a different conventional or alternative school through the NCLB process, if eligible, or through the Parent Choice lottery process for the following September, typically beginning in January for High School and early February for Middle and Elementary Schools. You are highly encouraged to investigate your choices by visiting the school, reading the school profile (link on the School Choice/Lottery home page), or visiting the school fair before filing an application.

In fact I have seen parents falling to the floor in tears because their child didn't get chosen through one of these lotteries.

Quote
If you have the money then you can make sure to buy or rent in an area with good schools, problem solved.

Well, then if you are in China, rent in Beijing or Shanghai and not in Gwangzao.   

If you think the situation is any different in the US, you are seriously deluded.

Quote
I'm assuming that people who can afford to pay for real international schools (which can cost over 20,000 dollars yearly and rarely cost less than 10,000 at a minimum), are probably not going to go back to America and live in the ghetto.

The average English teacher is probably not making enough money for this to be affordable anyway.

Stil

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2011, 03:24:08 PM »

I hate to disturb peoples' fantasies by presenting reality, but morality obliges:


why are you such a fucking asshole?

The Local Dialect

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2011, 03:35:18 PM »
The OP asked the question about international schools vs schools back home, so I'm assuming he can afford international schools and is not working on an ESL teacher's salary. If he can afford international schools I'm assuming he doesn't have to resort to fraud to make sure his kids end up in a good school district. I stand by my statement -- someone who can afford between 10-20k USD a year in tuition is not going to go back home and have to send their kids some shithole of a school.

Aside from that, if you want to stick around this forum you really ought to consider the way you address people. Calling people deluded is not really getting yourself off to a good start.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2011, 05:35:29 PM »

I hate to disturb peoples' fantasies by presenting reality, but morality obliges:


why are you such a fucking asshole?

Say, there's an excellent question. The kind of smashmouth Stil is responding to is unnecessary and unappreciated and unacceptable. If you want to be respected, show some respect to others. bibibibibi
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we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 06:08:11 PM »
As to drawing straws or flipping coins that is exactly what some people do to try to get into a good school.  Unless you want to quibble that entering a lottery is not exactly the same as drawing straws or flipping coins

My lovely daughter just started 7th grade at the best public middle school in Dongguan.  Admission to the 3 choices of public middle schools (one good, one sort-of ok, and one really bad) was based solely on lottery.  I tried to ask for drawing straws, but the local Bureau of Middle School Assignments didn't want to change the procedure.

Happily, she'd also passed the admissions test to a decent private school, so we were covered if her assigned public school hadn't turned out to be the good one.  Considering how much the tuition would have been, I'm even more glad she ended up in the best public school. ahahahahah

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zero

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Re: Children's Education - Where is Best? - China or the West?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 08:22:41 PM »
Is she a Chinese citizen? Also, how much would tuition have been?