Upon visiting the Great Wall's homeland (and the wall itself), Patricia Baltzley, Baltimore County Public Schools director of mathematics, Kevin Harahan, principal of Parkville High School, and Lyle Patzkowsky, principal of Dulaney High School, discovered that Chinese students must score well on a test to be admitted into high school - before they can even consider the "University Test," a three-day test that almost entirely decides if, and where, students attend college.
Ms. Baltzley, Mr. Harahan, and Mr. Patzkowsky
traveled to China
for two weeks this July to represent Baltimore County Public Schools
at the China
2005 11th Annual Educational Leadership Conference.
"It's a very structured system, and their culture, both now and in the past, has been very structured," expands Mr. Patzkowsky
. Ms. Baltzley, Dr. Zhang Baoqing, Mr. Harahan, and Mr. Patzkowsky take a break from speeches and site-seeing to pose.
Ms. Baltzley, Dr. Zhang Baoqing, Mr. Harahan, and Mr. Patzkowsky
take a break from speeches and site-seeing to pose.
The Chinese school system administers exams similar to the High School Assessments (HSAs), notes Mr. Harahan, and has trouble "motivating students and finding relevant curriculum," relates Mr. Patzkowsky
Some Chinese students claimed to do nothing after school except study, but in the group that Ms. Baltzley, Mr. Harahan, and Mr. Patzkowsky
spoke to, two boys pointed to another and said: "We go to his house and play American video games."
For Mr. Patzkowsky
, the Great Wall was the most amazing place visited; "It's hard to believe," he
said, "that 1,000 years ago something that magnificent could have been constructed using manual labor."
The educational system is aspiring to keep pace with changes in the rest of China
, trying to "find ways to as quickly as possible educate as many people as possible," Mr. Patzkowsky
strives to update their educational system, its long history and traditions are causing setbacks.According to Mr. Patzkowsky
, "Those in rural communities are posing the greatest resistance, because they live in a very traditional way, and don't see the need to change."But even in the past decade China has significantly increased access to education, from the elementary to university level, Mr. Patzkowsky