Coming to American Schools – for a Break

“Fixing” education is a constant struggle; there’s not enough money, not enough teachers, there are tests to teach to, kids of varying abilities are in the same class… the list goes on. While for many of us this presents a perpetual frustration, for others, our educational system offers a moment of relief. NPR recently reported a new trend of Korean parents bringing their children to the US to attend school. They do it to offer their kids a new perspective and an American experience, but also because, well, school here is easy – compared to what Korean students are used to, anyway.

For many, this may be the last straw; budget crises, outdated technology, disinterested students, and now this? It’s too easy? How can we be expected to compete globally when foreign students are coming to our schools for a break? Korean parents, though, don’t see it this way. As one put it, life is competitive enough as an adult – but when children “are young, when they are small kids, they need some happiness.” This begs the question, where is the happy medium? Where do we find the balance between giving our kids the knowledge required to keep up in the global community and letting kids be kids without overburdening them?

What do you think? Is it insulting that our schools are considered a respite from highly competitive educational systems? Or should we take hope in the notion that as a country, we are still able to find value in the gift of a childhood?

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