What Vladivostok thinks of Oak Park

In the Vladivostok News, a Russian student writes about going to high school in Oak Park, Illinois, where students can show up in pajamas and bunny slippers.

At American high schools, the curriculum for senior classes is flexible. They can choose from a large selection of courses and interesting clubs. High school is a hybrid school, sports and technical complex, music school and many other functions. You can get early practical education for whatever profession.

By contrast, Russian students have little choice in what classes to take.

It may appear that American schools are much easier than in Russia. On the one hand, this is true since no one will force you to do homework, yell at you or expose your grades to the whole class. But naturally you will lose the chance to enter university later and end up working at McDonald’s for the rest of your life. The American education system makes certain that teenagers understand this and are in no need of someone forcing knowledge into them with an iron fist.

U.S. schools work well for responsible and disciplined students, the Russian concludes. Lazy students would do better in a Russian school, where everyone is forced to learn, like it or not.

Thanks to Tom McMahon for keeping up to date with the news from Vladivostok.

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  1. Bluemount says:

    I think naturally responsible and disciplined students can get more out of American schools.

    What we understand as naturally disciplined is people who are interested in the subject and work independently. Lots of people we consider the most brilliant are not who we consider the most discipline. I think that is because of our shallow understanding of discipline and catering to authority. If we want to produce a nation of thinkers we should fairly evaluate what education does and doesn not produce. I’ve seen lots of add for foreign programs that look for interest “Are you good at math?”, rather than degree.

    What education can provide is an understanding of what discipline is, and an opportunity to be rewarded for that. Education isn’t the answer it’s the question that stimulates basic ability and interest.

  2. Richard Nieporent says:

    Every day somebody wanders into school in pajama pants and home slippers.

    Maybe they are learning to be bloggers.