A moron with a computer is still a moron

A Moron with a Computer Is Still a Moron writes David P. Goldman on Pajamas Media, in response to the New York Times story, In the Classroom of the Future, Stagnant Scores.

Chinese parents are buying their children pianos, violins and music lessons, while “New Age nerds” try “to keep kids “engaged” with video games.

It is the antithesis of education, which begins with discipline and extended concentration span.

Technology is transformational when it’s designed into schools, not layered on top of the same old stuff, writes Tom Vander Ark on Getting Smart. “The story of this decade is that personal digital learning will change the world.”



Beware of the ‘tiger mother’

In Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua argues that traditional Chinese mothers are better at raising children who excel than Westernized mothers, who are softies.  In the Wall Street Journal, Chua, a Yale law professor, brags:

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

• attend a sleepover

• have a playdate

• be in a school play

• complain about not being in a school play

• watch TV or play computer games

• choose their own extracurricular activities

• get any grade less than an A

• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama

• play any instrument other than the piano or violin

• not play the piano or violin.

Chua rejected her daughters’ handmade birthday cards because they weren’t good enough. Her description of how she forced her younger daughter to keep practicing a difficult piano piece with no water or bathroom breaks sounds like child abuse by American standards.

Chua, the daughter of immigrants, claims her version of Chinese parenting stems from faith in her children’s abilities. There’s no need to fear failure because success is just a matter of working harder.

The Journal links to reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle, EW and Washington Post.  All the reviewers seem to be fascinated and appalled by Chua’s parenting.

Chinese students, Ivy dreams

Obsessed with prestigious U.S. universities, middle-class Chinese parents have made Harvard Girl a best-seller, reports the Boston Globe. Other books on raising “high-quality children” include Stanford’s Silver Bullet, Yale Girl and Creed of Harvard.

“Harvard Girl,” written by the parents of one of the first Chinese undergraduates to enter the university on a full scholarship, chronicled Liu Yiting’s methodical upbringing, which the book says instilled the discipline and diligence necessary for academic success. The tome has a place in many urban households with high school-age children, and new parents receive the book as a present from family and friends.

All the parents’ hopes rest on their only child.

Liu’s parents challenged the young girl to hold ice in her hands for as long as she could bear it to improve her endurance and made her jump rope every day for increasingly longer periods until she won a school contest.

They put toys out of her grasp when she was a baby to make her work harder for them, timed the girl’s studies to the minute as soon as she entered elementary school and made her do school work in the noisiest part of the house to develop her ability to concentrate.

Liu was graduated from Harvard in 2003 with a degree in applied math and economics; she works at a New York investment firm. Last year, 484 Chinese students applied to Harvard; five were admitted.