Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jay Matthews with Bob Compton
2 Million Minutes

Sudhakar makes some great points...

I noted some inconsistencies in Jay's arguments as well, and sent them to the host Erin Burnett. Jay mentions that they need a strong middle class in India to buy American goods. But the last time I checked, Indians were buying anything BUT American. The most popular car is a Suzuki. The most popular phone is Nokia. The most popular truck is made by Tata, locally. The most popular TV is a Sony. The most popular fridge is a Lucky Goldstar (Korean). The most popular movies are made in Bollywood in Bombay. The most popular game is Cricket, a British sport. Conversely, almost nothing is manufactured or engineered in America any more. Clothes and electronics are made in China, Korea or Taiwan. Expensive luxury goods are made in Japan or Europe. So, I kept wondering, what exactly is Jay expecting the well-off middle class Indians to buy from America? The second inconsistency I saw is that he mentioned that it was people like Bob who were the driving force of the US economy. And there was Bob, effectively telling Jay in his face, that his creativity is nothing without experienced computer programmers from India and China. I thought this guy Jay lived on Mars, because he seemed to be completely out of touch with reality.



Anonymous said...

These are comments by Bob Compton responding to criticism from National Association of Secondary Principals - The Principal's Policy Blog I didn't post the entire message, but I think its interesting when you read his responses to criticism - he's got good answers and I think good reasons for making the documentary.


US: K-8 - 38 million students, H.S. - 16 million, College -17 million

China: K-8 - 170 million students, H.S. - 24 million, College - 16 million

India: K-8 - 176 million students, H.S.- 35 million, College - 8 million

I'm sorry you took my film as critical of American high schools - that was not the intent. Rather I had hoped to show how students in each country allocate their time - between school, study, sports, extracurricular activities and jobs.

What the film illustrates is that students allocate their time very differently in each country based mostly on families, community recognition and their culture - not simply because of the school system.

The question I hoped to raise with the film was - does it matter to America's economic future that Indian and Chinese students spend more time building their intellectual foundation than American students? We tried to show the simple reality in each country, and then let each viewer draw their own conclusion.

I hope U.S. educators will view Two Million Minutes as an opportunity to gain insight into the educational priorities and practices of the two largest countries on Earth and not as criticism of American high schools.

Posted by: Bob Compton | February 17, 2008 07:06 PM

Anonymous said...

The best thing that could happen to public schools in America are for all states to put Singapore curriculum on the list of adoptable materials so school districts can purchase these textbooks with state funds. At least provide communities with an opportunity to do what is ethical.

The public has not been accurately informed about Singapore.
1. Singapore was written in English for non-English speaking students. It is written at an appropriate reading level. A full course of traditional standard algebra is taught in the eighth grade.
2. Singapore teaches standard algorithms and problem-solving methods.
3. Singapore problems were individually tested. The content stands by itself and it delivers what it promises.
4. Singapore is not just a vision; it is a complete curriculum.

Two million minutes is a wake up call for policy makers. Singapore has revolutionized education in Asia. The debate over math education and standards has everything to do with access to appropriate curriculum. Curriculum shapes our schools and it is directly responsible for the current crisis in American educational policy that has done more to resegregate communities, than bring people together. The scale and diversity of Asia, especially the Pacific Rim, is astonishing.

Anonymous said...

The competition in all Asian countries for entry into high school and college is enormous. Basic resources like furniture, textbooks, and paper, for educating kids are scarce too.

So its unrealistic to look at dropout rates - its from lack of resources, not lack of education that many children can't go to school, so they enter the workforce earlier.

In the US we suffer from a gluttony of resources. We give kids twice as much to learn with and yet they only learn half as much. Americans will have to be more discerning, otherwise our schools are likely to become a modern tower of babble (I think they are already.)

Bob said...

I share your confusion as to what American products Jay thinks Indians and Chinese are going to buy.

That is why we have a $14 BILLION trade DEFICIT with China and a $1.25 BILLION trade DEFICIT with India.

Americans buy more from Indians and Chinese than they buy from us. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Bob Compton