Asian parents pay for ‘shadow’ education

“Shadow education” — not schools — is responsible for students acing international exams in Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, writes Manabu Watanbe. Parents supplement their children’s schooling by paying for tutors, cram schools or distance learning, according to Watanbe.

Maybe it’s not the shadow schools either. It’s the parents who care so much about their children’s education.

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  1. foobarista says:

    If you live anywhere where there are lots of Asian families, you’ll see all manner of what the Japanese call cram schools in strip malls. Add to that Chinese-language Saturday schools, and you have a whole lot of added classroom time for “tiger-mom” kids.

  2. I think the same thing is going on here, with kids from affluent, highly-educated families getting tutoring at home, at tutoring centers or from private tutors. (online too, but that came after my kids’ day) Schools do not want to know about this; they point to very successful kids and take the credit.

    • Either that or it’s just a weird coincidence that most affluent burbs around NYC with high-performing schools have a Kumon downtown that’s jam-packed after school and on weekends.

      • And it’s another weird coincidence that the newspaper article announcing that my grandkids’ ES was switching to Singapore Math (due to heavy parent pressure in a one-HS town – NOT mentioned in the article) included an interview with the director of the local Kumon; in which he said that they would be making some changes in offerings and marketing.

  3. I agree with momof4, it is something you see among affluent families as well.

    Many families where I live do what I call “afterschooling”. What I define as “afterschooling” is making a concerted effort to supplement the school curriculum by trips to the library, workbooks, or review of math facts. They aren’t paying anyone to do it, but it would seem to have the same sort of effect as a “shadow” education.

  4. No, it’s not going on among rich families at all. They might hire personal tutors, but not shadow education. I work with both rich families and the Asians buying shadow education, unlike any of the other folk opining.

    And no, it’s not that the parents care, and no, it’s not that the shadow education is all that great. The shadow education often is just companies that have copies of tests. The rest of the time, it’s just parents buying the subject before it’s in school. So the year before the kids take algebra, they take algebra in summer school so they can be learning a subject they already know.

  5. “Maybe it’s not the shadow schools either. It’s the parents who care so much about their children’s education.”

    If all that were required to turn a lousy school into a good school were parental concern there’d hardly be a lousy school in the world apologists for the public education system’s need to find scapegoats not withstanding.

    Rather more likely is that parents from a part of the world in which mass starvation’s occurred within living memory aren’t willing to put their faith in professionals with something as important as their children’s lives.