That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Recreating the South Korean Educational Miracle in the United States

with 25 comments

During a speech last week, Barrack Obama reminded us that South Korean students go to school a month longer than our students do.  After looking up the statistics, I learned that they are also scoring better on standardized tests than our students even though we have a higher percentage of students scoring in the highest category.  I decided that we need to look at what it will take to replicate the South Korean educational miracle.

First, we need the kind of quality teachers that they have in South Korea.   First, all teachers in this country should get a 75% raise so that they are equal to South Korean teachers in salary as a percentage of GDP.   I’m not thrilled about this aspect of things either because a teacher who is currently overpaid at $40,000 a year would now make $70,000.  Wow!  OK, let’s just skip this step.

One thing that South Korea has that we need is hagwons.  Hagwons are private tutoring schools that students go to after their regular school day is completed.  South Korean families spend 7 percent of their income on their children’s education and that’s for students in public school.    Student days in South Korea are much longer with both school and hagwon taking up time.  It isn’t unusual for students to catch up on their shut eye in class.  The saying in Korea is, “Sleep 5 hours and fail.  Sleep 4 hours and pass.”  Especially in high school, students routinely begin school at 6 a.m. and spend the day in classes until midnight.  This schedule lasts 7 days a week.

Students in South Korea know that they have a lot pressure to succeed and unfortunately, there is an abnormally high suicide rate among teens and children in South Korea.  However,  the schools know that if they need to instill discipline they still can.  80% of schools in South Korean still employ corporal punishment.  There was one famous story in 2006 when a teacher hit a student 200 times for being 5 minutes late for class.  You can be sure that student was on time the next day.  This iron willed discipline allows Korean teachers to use a curriculum that features far more rote memorization than are children can handle.

Some may argue, that this kind of approach is too costly or that it saps children of their childhoods.  However, what is the effect of a childhood on a country’s economy?  We need to start working to get our students capable of competing with the hard working automotons of South Korea.


Written by thatsrightnate

March 15, 2009 at 11:22 am

25 Responses

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  1. Uh, Nate. As a member of the overpaid teachers of America union, it’s my obligation to point out your mistake.

    In the last full line of the 4th paragraph, you use “are” when “our” is the correct word.

    And, for the record, I believe I have a lot better chance of getting that $34.95 from you than getting a raise from this administration.


    March 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

  2. steve, “are” vs. “our”?! haha! give it up! nate refuses to use a spellchecker, so creative words like “vicyory” (in his last post) are not unusual.

    nate, are you listening? it doesn’t cost anything to run a spellcheck, you know. and no, it won’t insert any liberal verbiage, either. it will still be your own brilliant writing, just minus the cringe-inducing typos.


    March 15, 2009 at 2:29 pm

  3. The great conservative Noah Webster attempted to clean up all these foreign spellings and make things far simpler. The liberal intelligencia resisted. I use individual spelling as a sign of my rejection of the liberal elite.


    March 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm

  4. We knew a guy who’d been through the Japanese school system. It sounded similar from what he told us. He did very well and got sent to the US as an engineer. He never went back and was still pissed off at the Japanese school system last time I saw him.


    March 15, 2009 at 4:05 pm

  5. Yeah, but he’s an engineer. They make good money


    March 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

  6. So do people who can spell, I take the “Irisih” in your Sunday music post as a personal insult. You misspelled our nativity because you hate our (or should I say are) religion.


    March 15, 2009 at 5:55 pm

  7. Actually he gave up engineering, ran a restaurant for a while and last time I saw him he had some sort of electronics shop. He was a wonderful cook but the restaurant business is tough.


    March 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

  8. The restaurant business is very tough, but that’s why supply side policies are necessary. The more money they wealthy have in their pockets the more they can go out to eat and the more they can tip.


    March 15, 2009 at 8:19 pm

  9. If only so many of them weren’t such bad tippers. I’ve waited tables – long ago. The best tippers were members of organized crime and next were other waiters and waitresses. Rich people not known as “Buggy Ray” or “Fat Angelo” were cheap as hell.


    March 16, 2009 at 5:35 am

  10. So we give the wealthy tax cuts in exchange for colorful nicknames. I’d like to be called Nate “The Lip” Peele.


    March 16, 2009 at 6:39 am

  11. How do you do that?


    March 16, 2009 at 10:32 am

  12. Don’t mind the teacher correcting you since the same teacher skipped over the lack of a needed comma in the paragraph before that mistake and the extra comma where there shouldn’t be one in the beginning of the last ‘graph.

    Well? While I usually think teachers are underpaid Steve seems to think he is not. Perhaps, in this particular case, he may be correct? Just Kidding.

    Now… Do not read my Blog to look for mistakes since I can assure you there are plenty of’em! Like most Bloggers making ZERO dollars, I am almost as overpaid as the Bloggers that do manage to eke out a meager living doing this. Also, I dno’t use the splelhcekcer eonugh. And Eye am certain there are sum mistakes spellchecker Will naught catch. 🙂

    Connecticut Man1

    March 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

  13. Hey Nutmeg Man, I am overpaid. IF by that you mean the city of Chicago actually gives me the money they owe me.


    March 16, 2009 at 3:56 pm

  14. unlike my relatives


    March 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm

  15. (sentence redacted by Department of Homeland security) I have 8 children and a wife to support on a teacher’s salary. Nate is one-quarter millionaire. This is not fair!


    March 16, 2009 at 5:36 pm

  16. Connecticut Man–it is always a pleasure to read your blog though it is a bit liberal for my tastes and I’m pretty sure you will burn in Hell because of that.


    March 16, 2009 at 6:09 pm

  17. steve, are you quite alright?!

    also, what’s with that body-like-a-bloated-blueberry avatar you were using earlier?


    March 16, 2009 at 6:22 pm

  18. Thank you for your concern Gina. I am not all right. Nate has been blocking my messages (under the guise of Homeland Security) as I try to expose the truth about financial irregularities in the self-storage-relatives industry. That bloated blueberry was my attempt to get the truth out via an alternate account, but Nate still blocked part of my message. Trust me Gina, if you knew what Nate did, you would think Bernie Madoff was the most innocent man alive.


    March 16, 2009 at 6:47 pm

  19. Let’s get this problem solved once and for all. Nate, just give back your brother-in-law the 35 dollars you owe him, and I’m sure he’ll stop bullying you with correcting your grammar and spelling. You’re rich, and Steve’s a teacher. Return his money and just consider it a tip that you’re giving to a subaltern. It’s pocket money for you.


    March 17, 2009 at 6:55 am

  20. THank you Lola. I could have said it better myself, but Nate would have blocked me! Please keep up the fight for my justice. When I told Nate I would ask you for help, he said “that’s right Che, call Fidel.”


    March 17, 2009 at 8:52 am

  21. i believe you, steve – i’m sure there’s a lot of dirty money involved in auctioning off used couches and stationary bicycles that their owners have supposedly abandoned.

    i’m glad to see that you’ve got that blueberry bloat under control, too.


    March 17, 2009 at 9:08 am

  22. Gina, Your support means a great deal to me in this difficult time. At least Bernie Madoff tried to protect his family. Nate only wants to hurt his. I bet he won’t even stop in to our St. Patrick’s Day party tonight.


    March 17, 2009 at 9:40 am

  23. I have paid Steve the $35 on three seperate occassions. The last time I was smart enough to use a check so I have a cancelled check to prove it. He is just a typical teacher always asking for more money. I don’t even like my aunt.


    March 17, 2009 at 9:42 am

  24. Hi, I taught in Korea for four years. Korea has the highest suicide rate in the world because of it’s education system. Last year a young boy (8 years old, I believe) killed himself because of his low test scores. Just yesterday a boy was beaten over 100 times on the soles of his feet for missing study hall. He also killed himself.

    The Korean education system focuses only on memorization. A graduating senior can pass a scantron test (or maybe just pay his friend to take the test for him, common practice in Korea), but put a microscope in front of him and he probably can’t operate it. They’re taught math, Korean, and English, but most of the rest is propaganda and misinformation (Doduk, or Morality class, for example). Hagwons are either scams where nothing is actually taught, or a continuation of the abuse and molestation that occurs in the public schools.

    My wife is Korean and she is grateful that our children will never have to endure the kind of abuse she went through in school. I agree that America needs an education revolution, but let’s stay far away from the child soul drainer that is the South Korean education system.

    If you want to bring something from Korea to America, let’s start eating more vegetables and less fat.


    May 1, 2009 at 11:40 pm

  25. Geez, you make it sound very unappealing.


    May 2, 2009 at 7:25 am

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