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Free Market Education in South Korea

ClassicRobert
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8/4/2013 10:36:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I recently read an article about South Korea's education system. While it has a public schooling system like most countries, what really sets it apart is it's after school hagwons, which are sort of like advanced tutoring academies. However, to call them just tutoring would be a misnomer. They mirror mainstream education, and all subjects are taught, but it is for a fee. At the hagwons, the teachers are payed according to demand for their skills. One of the highest paid teachers, Kim Ki-hoon, earns the equivalent of four million dollars each year.

These hagwons are insanely competitive. It is common practice to poach other hagwon's celebrity teachers. It is pretty much as close to a pure meritocracy as it can get, as students sign up for specific teachers. The teachers don't need to be certified, and they don't have benefits or guaranteed base salaries. Their pay is based purely on the demand for the teachers and the teacher's performance, which is determined by students' test-score growth and surveys given to the students and the parents.

Now, South Korean 15-year-olds rank second in the world, and the country has a 93% high-school graduation rate, which is 16% higher than America's graduation rate.

So I have a few questions. What legislative reforms can we make to a). make our teachers more competitive b). make the system free market, or c). improve the overall system. Also, would it be better for us to remove all public schooling and just foster a competitive environment for private schools?

The article can be seen below.

http://online.wsj.com...
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DetectableNinja
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8/4/2013 11:00:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I've always liked a semi-voucher/semi-public school system, which I think, I THINK, is used in Belgium or something?

Anyway, basically, every parent gets a certain amount of money specifically earmarked for their child's education. Now, there ARE public schools, but only in the sense that they're government-run, meaning that, in terms of education, the government is forced to compete with private schools for the money it gave to the parents. It proved to be very effective, and it cost about half per child of what a normal "public school" system spent.
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ClassicRobert
Posts: 2,487
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8/4/2013 11:05:16 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/4/2013 11:00:52 AM, DetectableNinja wrote:
I've always liked a semi-voucher/semi-public school system, which I think, I THINK, is used in Belgium or something?

Anyway, basically, every parent gets a certain amount of money specifically earmarked for their child's education. Now, there ARE public schools, but only in the sense that they're government-run, meaning that, in terms of education, the government is forced to compete with private schools for the money it gave to the parents. It proved to be very effective, and it cost about half per child of what a normal "public school" system spent.

How's the output though? I mean, it costs half the money, that's great, but does it produce better students?
Debate me: Economic decision theory should be adjusted to include higher-order preferences for non-normative purposes http://www.debate.org...

Do you really believe that? Or not? If you believe it, you should man up and defend it in a debate. -RoyLatham

My Pet Fish is such a Douche- NiamC

It's an app to meet friends and stuff, sort of like an adult club penguin- Thett3, describing Tinder
DetectableNinja
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8/4/2013 11:10:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/4/2013 11:05:16 AM, ClassicRobert wrote:
At 8/4/2013 11:00:52 AM, DetectableNinja wrote:
I've always liked a semi-voucher/semi-public school system, which I think, I THINK, is used in Belgium or something?

Anyway, basically, every parent gets a certain amount of money specifically earmarked for their child's education. Now, there ARE public schools, but only in the sense that they're government-run, meaning that, in terms of education, the government is forced to compete with private schools for the money it gave to the parents. It proved to be very effective, and it cost about half per child of what a normal "public school" system spent.

How's the output though? I mean, it costs half the money, that's great, but does it produce better students?

Yes, because all schools are forced to offer better, more attractive options, including the government schools. This means (or has meant) better teachers, higher-paid/valued teachers, better equipment/supplies, etc.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
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Bullish
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8/4/2013 12:41:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Guys, I have Asian friends who have had first hand experience in the Asian educational system. It's all about the test scores and absolutely nothing else. Maybe a musical instrument. It's like "Asian parents" in America except its worse.

Most Asians dislike their educational systems because it's so competitive.
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wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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8/4/2013 1:18:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/4/2013 10:36:48 AM, ClassicRobert wrote:
I recently read an article about South Korea's education system. While it has a public schooling system like most countries, what really sets it apart is it's after school hagwons, which are sort of like advanced tutoring academies. However, to call them just tutoring would be a misnomer. They mirror mainstream education, and all subjects are taught, but it is for a fee. At the hagwons, the teachers are payed according to demand for their skills. One of the highest paid teachers, Kim Ki-hoon, earns the equivalent of four million dollars each year.

These hagwons are insanely competitive. It is common practice to poach other hagwon's celebrity teachers. It is pretty much as close to a pure meritocracy as it can get, as students sign up for specific teachers. The teachers don't need to be certified, and they don't have benefits or guaranteed base salaries. Their pay is based purely on the demand for the teachers and the teacher's performance, which is determined by students' test-score growth and surveys given to the students and the parents.

Now, South Korean 15-year-olds rank second in the world, and the country has a 93% high-school graduation rate, which is 16% higher than America's graduation rate.

So I have a few questions. What legislative reforms can we make to a). make our teachers more competitive b). make the system free market, or c). improve the overall system. Also, would it be better for us to remove all public schooling and just foster a competitive environment for private schools?

The article can be seen below.

http://online.wsj.com...

1) I've lived in Korea for 4 years and had the opportunity to teach in some of the hagwons. I can corroborate all of this. One of the places I taught at was a sort of boarding school, where students studied for 14-16hrs per day (including weekends) and were allowed to go home for about 3-4 hours per month. Every time I showed up (around 8PM) the students were busy cleaning the school, scrubbing the floors, cleaning the restrooms, etc. When they were done, they would attend my hagwon session for 2 hours. Corporal punishment is still the norm...the students would almost brag about the size of the implement of punishment. It got a bit unbelievable when they began talking about baseball bats.

2) I remember Obama once flew to Asia on an education summit of some sort. When he came back, his voice was filled with alarm, and the message he conveyed was that we had to get our act together. He's correct, IMHO.

3) What is happening in Korea is archetypal of what occurs all throughout the region. It is a result of the Confucian ethic and the state examination system that's been a hallmark of Confucian societies for about 1500 years. Historically a statistic I remember from my classes was that the acceptance rate for entry level government positions resulting from this examination system was (in China at least) about 10,000 for a population of 30 million, or about 0.03%. This is why so many east Asians are so keen to emigrate to America, because they can coast here and still make it into top schools, and this as a first generation immigrant with pronounced language disadvantages.

4) This competitive aspect of the education system (and the part you don't mention, the near-martial discipline that is prevalent in nearly all levels and all aspects of the system) is core to my thesis that the next century belongs to east Asia.

5) Finally, Korea has the highest suicide rate in the developed world. Granted, an insanely competitive education system is only one factor for this (besides the mandatory draft, work-related pressures, etc):

http://www.bbc.co.uk...
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Stephen_Hawkins
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8/4/2013 1:20:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
That'd be because Hagwons are essentially incredibly expensive private schools. However, to call them "private schools" don't do them justice because they teach practically anything. Your understanding seems materialistic in that you're saying these hagwons are causing their better education. I'd claim that it is a culture where they prize education still and understand the value of being an educated, high functioning member of society and working hard. Individualism allows laziness, remember, and the culture in Asian countries of responsibility to everyone to self-improvement to the point of a duty akin to following the law allows for a pressure or stimulus to force better grades.

Also, keeping in mind Hagwons are done in addition to normal education, this implies that eliminating public education would instead require for a massive overhaul of how the Hagwons work. They've also gone through periods of banning, to extreme regulation, to extreme laissez-faire, so there's no stability in the education except in those which simply flaunted the law (which existed in droves, but still). I think the cause of better education being the Hagwons isn't as strong as we're making it out to be.
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wrichcirw
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8/4/2013 1:43:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/4/2013 1:20:55 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
That'd be because Hagwons are essentially incredibly expensive private schools. However, to call them "private schools" don't do them justice because they teach practically anything. Your understanding seems materialistic in that you're saying these hagwons are causing their better education. I'd claim that it is a culture where they prize education still and understand the value of being an educated, high functioning member of society and working hard. Individualism allows laziness, remember, and the culture in Asian countries of responsibility to everyone to self-improvement to the point of a duty akin to following the law allows for a pressure or stimulus to force better grades.

Also, keeping in mind Hagwons are done in addition to normal education, this implies that eliminating public education would instead require for a massive overhaul of how the Hagwons work. They've also gone through periods of banning, to extreme regulation, to extreme laissez-faire, so there's no stability in the education except in those which simply flaunted the law (which existed in droves, but still). I think the cause of better education being the Hagwons isn't as strong as we're making it out to be.

^

I will also add that while individualism does allow for laziness, it also allows for extreme non-conformity, which would result in a small but significant portion of the population being much more endowed than those graduating from a compulsory, collectivist system.

My main observation was that in America, we have a gigantic population of utter dross, but we make up for it by fostering a truly formidable elite. A problem with this observation is that much of what constitutes the elite now are first generation immigrants or flat out "foreign" students with no intention of staying here permanently, as opposed to people born and raised in America.

"Over 12% of all scientists and engineers in the US are foreign-born, including 23% of those with PhD degrees and 40% in the fields of engineering and computers."

http://books.google.com...

"Over all, about 23 percent of all undergraduates in 2007-8 were either immigrants themselves (10 percent) or the children of first-generation immigrants (13 percent). The proportions of college students who fell into those categories were much higher in some states than others; in California and New York, first- or second-generation immigrants made up 45 and 35 percent of all undergraduates, respectively, while the total was under 15 percent in both Georgia and Minnesota."

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com...
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My alma-mater, Berkeley, has had an Asian plurality for several decades now, well over 40%. The Asian population of California proper is 13%.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?