Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior Out Today: So Are They?

11 01 2011

About the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother:
Amy Chua is a professor at Yale Law School and author of “Day of Empire” and “World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability.” This essay is excerpted from “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua, published Tuesday (today) by the Penguin Press. . .

JJ’s version: This is the VERY foreign, extremely authoritarian hardass bootstrap model reflecting what Michelle Rhee (among too many conservatives and even those who call themselves humanists and progressives but not too often professional educators), touts as “Putting Students First”, demonstrating why I object to her current influence over Florida’s students, much less her attempted influence over America’s third-millennium public education.

Story here: Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior
Can a regimen of no playdates, no TV, no computer games and hours of music practice create happy kids? And what happens when they fight back?

And some backlash here:here:

As Gothamist pointed out, the story’s garnered over 1200 comments; it’s clearly hit a nerve, and not necessarily a positive one. To boot, in the words of a commenter: “I initially thought the article was a spoof, because it was so over-the-top narcissistic and, frankly, racist.”

and here:

Some author quotes:

I’ve thought long and hard about how Chinese parents can get away with what they do.

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If a Chinese child gets a B—which would never happen—there would first be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion. The devastated Chinese mother would then get dozens, maybe hundreds of practice tests and work through them with her child for as long as it takes to get the grade up to an A.

************
Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything. The reason for this is a little unclear, but it’s probably a combination of Confucian filial piety and the fact that the parents have sacrificed and done so much for their children.

***********
Finally, the day before her lesson, [seven-year-old] Lulu announced in exasperation that she was giving up and stomped off.

“Get back to the piano now,” I ordered.

“You can’t make me.”

“Oh yes, I can.”

. . .She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu’s dollhouse to the car and told her Read the rest of this entry »

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What JJ’s Reading and Being Confounded By

30 11 2010

. . .mostly news and commentary, mostly online, although the other night I did finish the latest Grisham legal thriller in real book form, with a hard cover and paper pages. It reminded me of a true story of my own and of the book, Bonfire of the Vanities — all about the power of conflicting stories full of both truthful fiction and factual fakes, stories that compete to confound us into real rage and real riots in our streets, but to no real (much less happy) end either as individual persons or as The People.

I am both aflame and unable to stop shivering.

“For all its apparent realism, Mr. Wolfe’s novel is not realistic. A 650-page narrative in which it is almost impossible to find a character who experiences a generous impulse or acts out of a generous motive may be said, in fact, to defy realism.”

As our new century’s political storms rage on and the light is dying, we can rage, rage back against it, and against each other. We certainly have the right to live our mutual lives as satire in the streets.

But if this reviewer was right, Tolstoy offers us the more enlightened lesson of problem-solving in a storm . . .

So what I’m reading is always a story with power but which story are we in, these days? And which story has the power? The more I read, the harder it is to know. Seems that as our stories and their power implode, power of story increasingly is all about power of story itself:

In a democracy, people have a right to know what their government is actually doing. In a pseudo-democracy, Read the rest of this entry »





Who Are You and What’s in That Name?

12 10 2010

Who are you and how shall you live, when you are born — fill in the blank —

See the sentence completed with “Jewish” for discussion here at Snook almost three years ago:

. . .the whole PBS series was about “identity” and how different American Jews in different places and times, struggled to both assimilate and advance, AND honor and preserve their own distinct heritage in their own families and neighborhoods, from language to education and music to friends and marriage, food, dress, hairstyles.

It’s a fascinating question to ask what it means to be born Jewish, of course, but is any religion literally about being born a certain way — inescapable genetic identity — that can be predicted, isolated and expressed with hard science? Or is it more true and truly meaningful to understand religious identity as culture, all its “mannerisms . . .hidden code . . .and subtleties.”

[He] doesn’t approach his journey into Judaism from a religious standpoint. He takes no steps to learn Hebrew or convert. Instead, his obsession is cultural. He wishes to understand the mannerisms of Jewish life; the hidden code of Jewish sarcasm and the subtleties of Jewish body language.

And in the end the larger power of story isn’t just about what Jewish or any other religious label means. The sentence that starts with “who are you and how shall you live” needn’t be followed by any fill-in-the-blank label at all. Just end it with a question mark: who are you and how shall you live? And never stop asking.

Who among us is so certain of our identity? Who hasn’t been asked, “What’s your background” and hesitated, even for a split second, to answer their inquisitor? Howard Jacobson’s The Finkler Question forces us to ask that of ourselves, and that’s why it’s a must read, no matter what your background.





Why Is This GOP Candidate Dressed as a Nazi?

11 10 2010

“This is art designed to improve humanity,
but it has the opposite effect because — it’s a lie.”
— The Furious Energy of Liberty

Is this the story of parental involvement, a good-sport dad just connecting with his son through wholesome historical theatre?

An election year already notable for its menagerie of extreme and unusual candidates can add another one: Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio’s 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments.

What about said exculpatory son btw, and whatever he learned from his dad as Nazi in their family time together? (I’ve wondered the same about father-son bonding over guns meant for killing life, especially in the name of pro-life politics.) Is it fair game for citizens and voters to ask ourselves such questions as we get to know more about a person in private family life?

Or maybe nothing personal should be the pivotal point when we’re evaluating the candidacy Read the rest of this entry »





Education Nation Thinking: School is a Social Network

27 09 2010

UPDATE: “Governing requires a humanism that we find largely absent in the business world of today. It calls for skills that the business world often overlooks or shuns. Governing requires the ability not to follow spreadsheets and marketing advice but to weigh all of the relevant information and decide what is best for all . . .”
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School is a social network but that’s not on the menu for this week’s Education Nation. I didn’t hear the phrase “liberal education” this morning either — but could that ideal be what we lost first, that led to America losing everything else?

What if, after a couple of generations of not really educating in the public schools, too busy exploiting them as captive consumers for our competing political causes and business opportunities instead, there’s no longer a critical mass of leaders and citizenry well-enough educated themselves to think productively about how to educate the next generation any better?

We’ve all heard the phrase “liberal education” and those of us of a certain (ahem) age, probably got a passably broad one somewhere along the way to this dystopic ruin of the House Our Liberally Educated Founders Built for us.

Folks with a liberal education, for example, are supposed to understand that “liberal” in this sense isn’t necessarily the opposite of conservative but it is the opposite of narrow, literal, training-and-conditioning-focused schooling, education drilled in to spec at the local mass-production public factory. Certainly liberal education is the opposite of for-profit Big Business and the cutthroat corporate mindset. Liberal education fosters intelligent, higher-order problem-solving and complex moral thought, humanist politics. And it’s not merely technical, not even at the MIT and NASA level. Math and science alone can’t put the liberal in a liberal education.

Devoutly Catholic William F. Buckley for example, had an extraordinarily liberal education as the debate-dominating wind in his arch-conservative sails. OTOH the Governor of Texas and his education makes one weep for education: Texas Governor Treats Colleges Like Businesses [as]
Regents promote his agenda, to faculty members’ chagrin

But Americans now get little education of any kind, much less a true liberal education. It’s all schooling and all to factory specs: tough, increasingly nationalized standards, radically mind-numbing regulations, authoritarian rewards and punishments for knowledge workers (both teachers and students) meted out by principal overseers in all school systems? More of that is hardly a new education idea nor a liberal one.

Anthony Seldon, Wellington College:

“good education should be the opportunity for each child to discover who they are, how they should relate to others, and what they love about life.”

Engaged liberal education vs. “Mass-Production Factories
of the Mind”
:

I’ve been anxiously following the news about the new National Governors Association initiative, Complete to Compete,  and the recent announcements about states competing for Race to the Top funding, and I continue to worry about reductionist models of education driving our reform agendas.  I think that many of our policy makers and government officials at both the state and federal levels actually do believe in the full promise of liberal education, but somehow forget what that really means in educational practice when they get down to developing actual policy proposals.

Here are my notes typed in as I watched all Monday morning. They’re in Maimi-Dade with Arne Duncan and student questions this afternoon. I’ll keep listening and thinking and be pulling from these notes for blogging later:

NBC Universal
EDUCATION NATION

Morning Joe and Today Show

Public survey on who’s to blame for what’s failing in schools, top two get more than half the public blaming them:
elected officials
parents

Then the very bottom group, teachers, gets only one-third of the public blaming them:
teacher unions
principals/admin
teachers

LA Unified Sch District has about one-third of all kids suffering from PTSD, biggest identified problem is violence

NJ Republican Gov Christie says it’s all about breaking the unions, forcing them to admit they’ve created the problem by making everything about their money and not caring about kids. Reward and punishment is his Read the rest of this entry »





Women of the TEA Party

16 09 2010

UPDATE: Christine “I dabbled in witchcraft” O’Donnell

From a (female) Cornell psychology professor: Who are they and what do they want? If they take America away from the rest of us, what will they do with it and will there be enough of it to share with the whole class?

JJ’s approach would be to compare their supposedly family-friendly advocacy with Teresa Heinz Kerry’s work for a healthier planet and for healthier women and children and families, living healthier lives upon it.

See also Natural Parent Power Kind to Climate, Children, Women Too.

Yes, Sarah Palin and all your grizzly pit-bullies, I’m talking to you. What counts is what you DO, who and what you live and work FOR rather than against, who and what you take responsibility FOR and what results you get. Is the world more heaven and less hell because you’re in it, or vice versa? People notice the difference sooner or later, you know:

As a young Methodist once upon a time, I remember deciding that heaven and hell described the state of mind each of us lived out in real time on earth, created by who I became, how I lived and why.

We can read heaven and hell into everything from the daily news to married life; in both journalism and marriage counseling, for example, what counts is what’s done, not just the words — of position, prescription, praise or promise — but their meaning manifest in reality, what’s behind the words, the circumstance and change described and delivered.

Show, don’t tell.

Whether in preaching or politics, inspiration literally means a new spirit goes “in” and becomes part of who you are, that you are affected and the totality that is “you” changes somehow that makes an outer difference for others. I suppose all presidents inspire the people and thereby change the nation’s reality but some presidents including the present one — hey, does the word president share a root with present? — inspire us to healthier change than others!





What a Difference a Year Makes in the GOP

14 09 2010

Remember conservative Christian homeschoolers this time last year, declaring war over President Obama daring to give a nationwide back-to-school speech?

(And mocking him for using a teleprompter to do it?)

Maybe it will be just as bad this year in your states, but for Nance and JJ here in Florida, shame should tamp it down — and if it doesn’t, that will prove there’s no shame left:

Greer apologizes to Obama, calls many GOPers ‘racist’

One year ago, when President Barack Obama gave his first back-to-school speech to the nation’s schoolchildren, then-chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Jim Greer, accused him of using “taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda.”

Now, Greer is facing fraud and money laundering charges and has been thrown under the bus by the state GOP, which has accused him of living the high life on party money. And so he’s had a change of heart.

“In the year since I issued a prepared statement regarding President Obama speaking to the nation’s schoolchildren, I have learned a great deal about the party I so deeply loved and served,” Greer said in a written statement.

“Unfortunately, I found that many within the GOP have racist views and I apologize to the President for my opposition to his speech last year and my efforts to placate the extremists who dominate our party today.

My children and I look forward to the presiden’t speech.”