By Amanda Ripley @ The Wall Street Journal
South Korea’s students rank among the best in the world, and its top teachers can make a fortune. Can the U.S. learn from this academic superpower?
This is not the first time I have read about the growing tutor market and near celebrity status of teachers in South Korea. This market based approach has been going on for years. Sadly, I think this might become an increasingly familiar paradigm in the US.
Of course what teacher wouldn’t want to pull down a lot more cash? Yet all that earning comes at cost. From this article, everything seems as though it is a popular contest, which is a little dubious. In a system like this, it is not necessarily talent that wins out but marketing. Is that really a value we want woven into how we educate our children? I know I certainly am not comfortable with that.
America is far too different, culturally. I am not convinced that students always know what is most valuable for them at the time they are experiencing it. How often has the teacher that was tough and demanding been remembered as the best, but it is only understood in retrospect? This seem to be all too common in my experience.
Moreover, the darker aspects of this system are far more problematic for me. It is just another practice that tips the balance in favor of the wealthy. We already live within a grossly inequitable system, wherein monied people already gain the lion share of significant educational advantages. Adopting something akin to this South Korean practice would only accelerate and exacerbate the problems we are already experiencing.
Plus, we are already farther along this path than I care to be. The Internet has already given rise to a kind of edtech celebrity teacher. Then, of course, there is that guy named Sal Khan.