Cultural Differences of Learning and Achievement Of Chinese and American Elementary and Middle School Students
By James S. Paicopolos
China, which is often referred to as a "police state" now offers more freedoms such as 70 percent of it’s youth attending Universities and enjoying on of the lowest incarceration rates, even when taken into account individuals who have been labeled in the west as political Prisoners. Interviewing Chinese students from my Chinese 101, who are taking Mandarin Chinese, they did state that they have lots of freedoms. On December 7th, I interviewed, Zhengshu Zheng, a female graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
We discussed freedom in China and freedom in America. She revealed, that a lot of people China a not very rich. She stated that people in China are not rich. We discussed freedom, the topic focused around economic opportunities being greater for Chinese in America, as the big distinction. When we discussed taxes, clearly the United States has more taxes and the penalties for nonpayment of taxes in the United States presented as more severe.
The following article appeared on Google.com search, with a ranking to the first page of Google:
"China? Police State?
Recently the Western media has been aflame with claims that China was spending vast amounts of money on "internal security". The implication was that the Government of China (whose approval rating is 85%–95%) is afraid of its own people. I'll write a separate post on that topic later, but here's a quick fact: the USA spends $69.40 on internal security on every American; China spends $8.95. And China's cops are unarmed–as in 'no guns'. Now read this letter by a disillusioned American about the state of 'internal security' in the Land of the Free:
Dudes, I'm done with this. I'm leaving the United States today, and won't be back for a while.
I recently visited my childhood hometown and noticed a whole bunch of brand new surveillance cameras at nearly every intersection and street corner; this is just a town, mind you, not some city of national or international significance. After doing some research, it turns out the cameras are "high-definition" 24/7 surveillance cameras, manufactured and operated by Sprint Nextel Corp, and paid for through federal
Department of Homeland Security grants to the town's local police department. In fact, the number of these cameras in my hometown has reportedly tripled over the past couple years. There are as many as six of them at each intersection, they aren't red light traffic cameras (topic for another article altogether, though). Here's a photo I took of the cameras. Do you really think these are there to make your 10 minute drive to the Applebee's safe from terrorists? Do you?
On another note, I was recently at a ball game: they now ask you to rise twice to sing the national anthem and pledge your allegiance. As a child, I only remember this occurring once, normally at the start of the game. It was recently revealed that the NSA, according to a former high-ranking official there, is building "dossiers" on MILLIONS of American citizens and may be routinely spying on countless Americans on U.S. soil, in clear violation of our laws and principles as a nation. " 1 http://inpraiseofchina.blogspot.com/2012/07/china-police-state.html
In determining, if Chinese Cultural differences educational practices with respect to American Cultural differences and educational practices, equate to Police State China vs Free America, this argument did not appear valid. The reason being is that there is overwhelming evidence, that
people living in China, actually do enjoy a lot of freedom. One of the distinct differences is that this author noticed immediately in China is that Chinese Police Officers do not carry guns.
In this author's own personal experience, while obtaining the autograph of Noam Chomsky, a world renowned linguist, which was obtained, this author was questioned by the campus police and nearly arrested for asking and obtaining an autograph. Going through homeland Security, in Los Angelis, this author was interrogated as to why he had been in China for so long as well as having his bags searched. While leaving for China, this author was, put through a scanner and had his bags searched leaving for China.
While arriving in China, a distinct cultural difference is that the staff manning Pudong airport in Shanghai, were very young and appeared to have just graduated High School. While the staff in the United States a the airport was mostly people in the late forties or early fifties. (1)
Inner city schools, in the United States have served as a pipe line to prison, according to Toni Saunder's, a leading minority child advocate, residing in Sandwich, Massachusetts. The United States, under the “tough love on crime" for nearly thirty years, when dealing with juveniles now enjoys the highest incarceration rate in the Industrialized world. Up until 2005, the United States, was the lead the world in executions of individuals, who had committed capitol crimes while under the age of eighteen. At the same time China, had long abolished the death penalty for individuals under the age of 18. In addition, the mental health status of American children has continued to decline resulting in large populations of male youth and young adults graduating to prison, most of whom are minorities. This occurred, while the United States has the most comprehensive child protective services in the world. In addition, United States also enjoys one the highest numbers of children who are available for adoption in the industrialized world.
China is rapidly becoming the world leader of technology and education. At the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, a large number of Chinese students are now attending according to Dr. White, who was interviewed by this author.
In Contrast, the United States has more Blacks and Latinos in prison than any other country in the world, yet still purports to be a bastillion of freedom. It is an accepted the fact that there will be no shortage of Black and Latino youth offenders and more prisons built to house their growing numbers. Instead of attending junior or senior high school, they have been incarcerated. Rather than to be living in college dorms many graduate to an overcrowded jail cell, a large number spending 23 hours in a jail cell, with only one hour for shower and exercise. (2)
There are the sobering statistics. The prison population across America is 70% Black and Latino. A majority of Americans survey demand harsher punishment as their racial disparity.
To gain a better understanding of the Cultural Differences of Learning and Achievement of Chinese and American Elementary and Middle School Students, the following topics will be addressed.
There is great concern within the United States Department of Education and Congress, with regards to the United States continuing to fall Asian countries including it’s rival China.
Christine Amario states the following:
“United States students are continuing to trail behind their peers in a pack of higher performing nations, according to results from a key international assessment.
Scores from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment released Tuesday show 15-year-old students in the U.S. performing about average in reading and science, and below average in math. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math.” (3)
Primary and Middle School in the United States
School attendance is compulsory for all children in the United States, however, the age range of which school attendance is mandatory rangers from state to state. American children begin elementary education at the kindergarten level (five to six years old) and complete secondary education with twelfth grade (usually eighteen years old). Some states do allow students to leave school between 14–17 with parental permission, before finishing high school; other states require students to stay in school until age 18 (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) Public School is divided into Kindergarten ages 5-6, elementary school, grades 1-6, middle school, grades 6-8 and High School grades, 9-12 in some school districts. However, there are great variations as to how the grades are divided, between elementary, middle school and high school. One Massachusetts School District, (Southbridge) for example divides the grades from grades 1-3 Elementary, 4-5 Intermediate School 6-8 Junior High School and 9-12 for high School. Lawrence Public Schools does nearly the opposite with elementary school going from grades 1-8 and then high school grades 9-12. Both of these school districts did not make Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), so the dividing of the students differently between the grades, did not appear to have an effect either way with regards to school achievement. (Massachusetts Department of Education website)
The official Language in American Schools is English. It is the only acceptable language for students to be taught in. In some instances other languages are spoken in bilingual classroom, however, movement has been toward total immersion. Massachusetts requires all subjects be taught in English, however students are allowed one to three years to be in an ESL classroom to catch up.
Students are not only graded by their teachers but take state examinations. In Massachusetts, in order to receive a diploma, a student must pass the MCAS in order to receive a diploma.
Primary and Middle school Education in China
Under the Law on Nine-Year Compulsory Education, primary schools were are tuition-free and reasonably located for the convenience of children attending them; students would attend primary schools in their neighborhoods or villages. Parents do pay a small fee per term for books and other expenses such as transportation, food, and heating.
Children usually enter primary school at seven years of age for five days a week . The two-semester school year consisted of 9.5 months, and begins on September 1 and March 1, with a summer vacation in July and August and a winter vacation in January and February. Urban primary schools are divided the school week into twenty-four to twenty-seven classes of forty-five minutes each, but in the rural areas, the norm was half-day schooling, more flexible schedules, and itinerant teachers. Most primary schools had a five-year course, except in such cities as Beijing and Shanghai, and later other major cities, which had reintroduced six-year primary schools and accepted children at six and one-half years rather than seven.
Mandarin is the official Language and is the required language, much the same as in the United States. . In the Southeastern part of China Cantonese is spoken, which is similar to Mandarin. The primary-school curriculum consisted of Chinese, mathematics, physical education, music, drawing, and elementary instruction in nature, history, and geography, combined with practical work experiences around the school compound. A general knowledge of politics and moral training, which stresses love of the motherland, love of the party, and love of the people is another part of the curriculum. A foreign language, often English, is introduced in about the third grade. Chinese and mathematics account for about 60 percent of the scheduled class time; natural science and social science accounted for about 8 percent. Pinyin Romanization in lower grades and kindergarten. The Ministry of Education required that all primary schools offer courses on morality and ethics. Beginning in the fourth grade, students usually had to perform productive labor two weeks per semester to relate classwork with production experience in workshops or on farms and relate it to academic study. Most schools had after-hour activities at least one day per week to involve students in recreation and community service.
Rural parents were generally well aware that their children had limited opportunities to further their education. Some parents saw little use in having their children attend even primary school, especially after the establishment of the agricultural responsibility system. Under that system, parents preferred that their children work to increase family income - and withdrew them from school - for both long and short periods of time.
Today, China has 1,540 schools for special education, with 375,000 students; more than 1,000 vocational training institutes for disabled people, nearly 3,000 standard vocational training and education institutes that also admit disabled people; more than 1,700 training organizations for rehabilitating hearing-impaired children, with over 100,000 trained and in-training children. In 2004, 4,112 disabled students entered ordinary schools of higher learning. Of disabled children receiving special education, 63.6 percent of total recruitment numbers and 66.2 percent of enrollment were in ordinary schools or special classes thereof.
According to the 2000 Census, the average US family size was 3.14 people.
The average number of children per all families is only .90 child.
The average number of children in families with children was 1.86 children.
So families with children tended toward 2 children, but not significantly if you allow for the number of families with MORE than 2. The number of families with 1 is likely close to the number of families with 2. More than half (52%) of ALL families had no minor children at all.
With changing demographics, this number could be larger in the 2010 Census. Larger families would weight both averages upward.
Chinese China’s One Child Policy and It’s Effect Culture and Chinese Edudation
China's official one child policy means that each family is only allowed one child. However, there are many exceptions. If the family is from one of the minorities or they live in the countryside they are allowed more than one child.
According to the Guardian, which is a an online publication, Article "China's one-child policy means benefits for parents – if they follow the rules"
The parents who abide by the rules get preferential hospital treatment and extra land allowances however, the rich can afford to flout the rules
Jonathan Watts in Xiaotun village, Henan The Guardian, Tuesday 25 October 2011 07.36
China one child policy : Li Tianhao gave birth to a baby boy , Henan province , China
Li Tianhao has just given birth to a baby boy blessed with his mother's nose, his father's mouth and an impressive ability to sleep through even the loudest disturbance.
This child will be fortunate to maintain as he has been born in Henan Province, which is the most crowded province in the world's most populous nation. Even though he is living here, he will probably grow up without any brothers or sisters.
Families living in the Cities are generally allowed one child, rural families can try for a second if the first is a girl and women from ethnic minorities are permitted to give birth two or three times in their lifetime. But there are close to a dozen exceptions, including if a baby has disabilities or if the mother and father are both single children. Government officials can be fired for procreational transgressions because they are supposed to set an example. By contrast, Tibetans have the fewest restrictions.
Money is another key factor. The rich in Shanghai and Beijing can easily afford the penalties for a second or third child. The poor in Gansu and Yunnan, by contrast are at risk of having their meager property confiscated if they fail to remain within birthing quotas.
At first glance, it appears that American Children are growing up in much larger families than Chinese families, however with the average American family having one to two children and the Chinese family having one to two children, the cultural differences regarding the number of children in a family, do not present as expected and the numbers of children growing up alone, may be nearly the same in both countries.
In addition, The Chinese Government has gone to remarkable lengths to try to fill the gaps left by the missing children. Rule-abiding parents can get a monthly stipend, extra pension benefits when they are older, preferential hospital treatment, first choice for government jobs, extra land allowances and, in some case, free homes and a ton of free water a month. Their children are even given bonus points in middle school entrance exams.
As China becomes richer and better educated, women in rich cities like Shanghai and Beijing are opting for few children just like their counterparts in wealthy nations. And with the nation's population is forecast to peak around 2030 many say the family planning policy had outlived its usefulness.
There is a great variation between Child rearing in America raging from one family to the other. Chinese parents enjoy much greater latitude and freedom in bringing up their child. The primary responsibility and control of the child remains with family. The focus by the family, especially among the more wealthy families in education. Boys are preferred and often treated like little princes. Discipline is more or less exclusively in the hands of the parents and family. Children are typically expected to behave and to learn. The parent may discipline the child in a way they seem fit. Corporal punishment does exist, but from what my experience in China this is very rare, but does occur. Much is done for the child. The emphasis, which this author saw in China was on not only education, but on nutrition and sleep. The parent works hard to help the child with home work, and if the child is not doing well, often a tutor is hired by the family.
The are no social workers policing the families, however child abuse is still not tolerated and is rare. The teachers, neighbors and relatives serve as a monitoring system, rather than an official government agency.
American parents are not allowed to hit their children or use any form of corporal punishment. Even yelling at a child is considered emotional abuse, and even a suspicion of child abuse must be reported to the state by the child's teacher of the teacher will faces severe penalties as well as losing her job. Massachusetts has a one year jail term for failure to report child abuse by a mandated reporter, however it has been rarely prosecuted.
Another aspect radically different from American vs. Chinese Education and Culture is that more policing of families means more freedom. The federal and states governments spend a fortune policing families, with the notion of eradicating child abuse and eliminating children in dysfunctional families by removing the children and placing them into foster care. After a child has been removed from the home for a year, the child by law must be put up for adoption. This policy has led to more children in the United States having the highest amount of children in foster care and being available for adoption. The paradox is that middleclass and rich American families will often choose is Chinese baby over an older adoptive American child.
Interview with Greg Hession - Family Lawyer Practicing in Massachusetts.
According to Greg Hession, unlike in China, the state has ultimate control over the child, as the Division of Children and Youth (DCYF) can and will remove a child if the parents are seen to be uncooperative or if the child is perceived to be in imminent danger or if the parent is perceived to be unable to care for the child.
According to Greg Hession, if the child refuses to go with the Social Worker, if the child is small enough, he or she is carried off. If the child is bigger, such teen, the Police are called and the child is put into the police cruiser and handcuffed.
The law regarding the authority to do this reads as follows:
"OBEDIENCE TO POLICE AND FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS.—It is unlawful and a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for any person willfully to fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any law enforcement officer, traffic crash investigation officer as described in s. 316.640, traffic infraction enforcement officer as described in s. 316.640, or member of the fire department at the scene of a fire, rescue operation, or other emergency. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, certified emergency medical technicians or paramedics may respond to the scene of emergencies and may provide emergency medical treatment on the scene and provide transport of patients in the performance of their duties for an emergency medical services provider licensed under chapter 401 and in accordance with any local emergency medical response protocols."
Therefore, if a juvenile refuses to go with the police officer, who is there “to protect him” he can be arrested for merely failing to obey the instructions to go with the police officer to be carted off to a foster or group home. There is a critical shortage of foster homes for adolescents, so it is not uncommon for juveniles to end up in a group home, where as a result of the volatility of youth removed from their homes and the mix with youths who have behavior issues means that they are very restricted into what they can and cannot do. (4)
Population Control In The United States vs. China’s One Child Policy
The form of population control in the United States is more benign. However, The fact is is that large numbers of black men are locked away in prisons and unable to have children, because of the segregation from females. Women who have had “crack babies” will have their children taken away. These women are often told by social and mental health workers that it is best to have an abortion.
Another form of population control is that poor white men, blacks and Hispanic men who have children and cannot support them, are put into prison for nonpayment of child support. Judges are not supposed to do this, but the threshold for what a judge can put an indigent father into prison is almost non-existent . Fathers can be jailed under a “civil violation” for up to two years. If one owes child support, their passport is also canceled, which is in violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the right to freely travel to another country and are often treated more like criminals on probation.
An example of how the United States can and does engage in population control is a follows:
"A "black" Wisconsin father of nine says he will abide by a judge's order not to have any more children until he can show he can provide for them."
"Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Sommers told the judge he did have some authority regarding Curtis' reproduction rights. Sommers cited a 2001 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling upholding a judge's power to order a defendant, as a condition of probation, to not procreate again unless he can show he can financially support the child." (5)
Raising children in American is very expensive. In addition in Massachusetts, families are only allowed two years on “Transitional Assistance” in the event they cannot find a job. If the mother cannot find a job, and is off public assistance, she can find herself homeless and her children placed into foster care. With official unemployment at being at 8 percent and true unemployment, which includes people who have given up and stopped looking for work almost double that, makes it very difficult if not impossible to find a job. After one year, the law mandates that the children be put up for adoption.
A staggering 11,000 children in Massachusetts out of a population of 1.4 million children in Massachusetts are in foster care which corresponds to the percentage of all children living in the United States living in foster care. The threshold for reporting child abuse is very low and the reasons for removing a child are completely at the discretion of the social worker. If the child acts out in school or is left "home alone" under the age of fifteen, then it is considered a form of child abuse. It moms yells at the child for anything, it is considered emotional abuse. Once a child is removed from the home, the social worker must bring the matter into family court within 72 hours. However, in nearly all instances, the court will side with social services.
If the child is not returned to the family within a year, termination of parental rights initiates under the idea that the child will be freed for adoption.
The cultural difference here is that in the United States, Social services and the courts work under the premise that they are acting in the "best interest" of the Child. They are also exempt, if the child is removed and it is proven that there was no abuse in the first place. A person reporting child abuse is also exempt from any law suit.
Reporting child abuse is often used as a form of revenge, especially in divorce cases and with nasty neighboors. Reporting of child abuse has also been used for being of the wrong skin color. Black families have been forced into moving to another place because the white neighbor endlessly called the police and social services on her triggering numerous investigations, which even if in the end is proven unfounded still can be very scary. The person reporting is by law kept cannot be revealed, to encourage the reporting of child abuse. Even though a family often knows who was filing against them, they cannot not officially find out. Even though the constitution the right to cross examine the witness, there is no right, under protective services. When allegations of child abuse are made, whether true or false, months or even years go by while the child remains in the custody of the state and is allowed little or no contact with their biological parents. This has been referred to on the web as: State sponsored kidnapping of children. The amount of monies involved in the foster care business is staggering.
The cost of putting a child in a group home can range as much as 200,000 dollars per year. Foster families are difficult to find and often these foster parents do this just for the cash. Visitation with the biological parents is severely restricted, as to the topics they may discuss as well as the interactions between parent and child.
“Interview with parent on Martha’s Vineyard”
“The school complained that I was bringing my son to school with dirty clothes and that he smelled. However, the real reason was that I did not want to medicate my child. They said that he was hyperactive and that he needed to be on Meds.” I refused to give him medication because of the side effect, so they took him from me.”
Interview with second parent. “ The school said that I was not helping my son with homework
And that I was not addressing my son’s emotional problems.” It took me about a week to straighten things out and then my son was allowed to return home.”
As seen from the parent interview, “The threshold for substantiating child abuse is extremely low. Having a messy house, or not enough food in the house is sufficient. If the child refuses the go to school and the parent cannot get the child to leave home to go to school, that is construed as "educational neglect". If two parents are arguing in front of the child, that is construed as "emotional neglect".
Divorce, is very common in the United States, where one out of 2 families end in divorce. Divorce in China is very rare. It is not uncommon for children in the United States to be victims of the Divorce.
Domestic violence is a huge problem in the United States. Chinese families are somewhat more stable because even though most families live on far less money, than in the United States, the maintain the same job without having to worry so much about job termination.
Special Education in China exists for the blind, deaf and children with mental retardation. The 1985 National Conference on Education recognized the importance of special education, in the form of programs for gifted children and for slow learners. Gifted children were now allowed to skip grades. Slow learners were encouraged to reach minimum standards, although those who did not maintain the pace seldom reached the next stage.
Children with learning disabilities or having behavior issues are the responsibilities of their families.
Provisions were made for blind and severely hearing-impaired children. Presently, China has 1,540 schools for special education, with 375,000 students; more than 1,000 vocational training institutes for disabled people, nearly 3,000 standard vocational training and education institutes that also admit disabled people; more than 1,700 training organizations for rehabilitating hearing-impaired children, with over 100,000 trained and in-training children. In 2004, 4,112 disabled students entered ordinary schools of higher learning. (6)
From my friends, colleagues I met while in The People’s Republic of China, as well as the interview with Mrs. Yao Quinhong, I was informed that unless the child has a severe learning problem, the students are expected to study more to make up for their poor achievement. In contrast, in the United States, parents have the right to have their children evaluated and to receive a comprehensive evaluation. Programs in Massachusetts for children with a learning handicap, have been the best in the world, with many people immigrating to the United States to take advantage of these programs. Children with severe learning or behavior issues may also be able to receive Social Security payments to assist the family. No such programs appeared to exist in China.
Yet another cultural difference regarding children is that the United State belief system is that the rule of law, for punishment allows juveniles to be tried as adults for more serious crimes. (6)
Children as young as five years old have been charged with misdemeanors and children as young as ten years old and even younger in some states, can be charged with felonies in the United States. (7)
The U.S. Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for minors in 2005 but 19 states permit "life-means-life" sentences for those under 18, according to a study by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI).
In all, a staggering 2,225 people are sentenced to die in U.S. prisons for crimes they committed as minors and 73 of them were aged 13 and 14 at the time of the crime, according to the group, which is based in Montgomery, Alabama. (8)
In the Peoples Republic of China, a child under the age of fourteen cannot be charged with any crime. " Age 14 Absolute minimum for acts that constitute the following crimes: homicide, wounding resulting in death, rape, robbery, arson, explosion, planting of toxic substances and trafficking in dangerous drugs. The minimum age for other crimes are 16.
Interview with Mrs. Yao, Director Jaingsu Province Department of Education, Jaingsu Educational Mansion Beijing Road, Nanjing, China.
According to Mrs. Yao, children rarely misbehave in school. When they do, the parents are called and they have a meeting between the parents and the teacher. For minor infractions, the teacher will call the parent on the cell phone. Children are not kept after school and there is no time during the school day to met out punishment. In addition, Children are not kept after school because of the traffic jams and the parents schedule.
Children who really misbehave, could kicked out of school and then they would be unable to go to school unless another school was willing to take them. The parents would be required to pay a fee to the new school often equivalent to the cost of the child's education. The question was also asked if the teacher could punish the child. Mrs. Yao responded that teachers are not allowed to punish the child and that is the responsibility of the parent.
Child abuse was also discussed. Mrs. Yao’s response to that was, why would anyone harm their own child. If something were to happen to that child, there would be often no one to carry the family name onto the next generation. She also brought out the fact that there are six adults in every family to help care for the child. The retirement age in China is fifty for women and 55 for men. The average age for having a child is around 26, which means that typically when the child is born, there is likely to be one or more grandparents retired to take care of the child. There are also the neighbors to look after the child.
My experience Teaching in China.
My experience in China, actually began here in the United States, as Ye Kuang and I were emailing each other about the lack of special education services for children with learning disabilities in China.
In March of 2011, I attended a conference on Linear Algebra, at Woodland Commons at the University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth. The Chinese students and staff I met there were surprised that I had learned some Mandarin Chinese. I was invited to apply for a Summer position, but that did not work out, as all the positions had been filled.
In May of 2011, I contacted an agency on the web, run by two retired school teachers from Missouri. They had me fill out an application with my photo, along with my credentials and resume. I was then told that all the positions were filled again, however an opening came up and I then applied for a visa to go to China. The visa was granted. All my expenses in China would be paid along with the air fare, which would be paid, once I got there.
The weeks went by and I found a cheap flight and bought the ticket. I had no money for the hotel, so I would be living on the streets of china, if things did not work out after my first night in the hotel.
Leaving was very scary. I had been talking with Ye Quang, who had introduced me to another Chinese person, who was supposed to meet me at the airport. The last minute, she was unable to meet me, so I was on my own. At Logan Airport, I had to take out my computer, take off my shoes and belt to get through security. I also had to go through a body scanner. After that we were allowed to put on our shoes and retrieve our things.
I boarded the flight to Chicago and then the plane took off shortly afterwards. After about 2 hours later, we landed in Chicago. Most of the people who boarded the flight to Pudong Airport in Shanghai, China were either Chinese, Businessmen or tourists. The majority of those flying over appeared to be Chinese.
The business men sitting next to me on this 17 hour flights, were not happy about going to China on business. The guy who I was sitting next to, was telling me about how they had moved three of the plants to China. He described the Chinese as tough negotiator’s, who could not be trusted.
I noticed that the Chinese on the flight going over tended to be thin and the American businessmen look fat and in their fifties.
All on the flight, instructions were both in English and Chinese.
As we approached China’s Airspace, leaving Russia behind, there was a lot of turbulence and shaking. Down below was now China. We were too far up to see anything.
As the plane approach Pudong, Airport in Shanghai, I got my first glimpse of China. It looked like just another big city from down below.
The plane circled downward over the Pacific Ocean. We soon landed. We were told to get off the plane. I was happy that I had not brought too many things over. I got out of the plane, and we walked toward customs. Chinese went to one side and Foreigners to the other. The airport, was huge, very modern and beautiful. I took a few pictures, but was told by the customs agent
“no pictures”. Most of the staff were very young and looked like then had just graduated high school. I met one of the American Teachers there, a woman from Missouri, but not from my group. She did not know how to get to her hotel, so since her hotel was near mine, I let her ride in the same taxi as me.
My bags were not inspected and I just walked through the gate and got my first glimpse of China.
The taxi, I had scheduled was there and took me to the hotel. The cost was 40 dollars a night, but I would only be staying one night.
It was there that I started to meet the other teachers, and one of the first things I learned was that even though the hotel staff were supposed to know English, they didn’t.
It was very difficult to communicate and the little Chinese I knew, was almost completely useless.
Then, I met Gloria and Charles Judeman , who were the ones helping to sponsor the trip to China. They had given me a lot of materials about Chinese culture and what is taboo.
One of the first rules, I learned is that you never complain about the food or about anything.
I also learned quickly about that the sanitation , that we take for granted in America is often not available in China. They use squat toilets, as well as the Western Toilets. You also have to boil water and how it is very impolite to eat alone.
Those were the first things that the Judeman’s informed me.
They also spoke about how Chinese children were extremely well behaved, but that even if they had spent a lot of time learning English, their English proficiency was very weak.
I went sight-seeing in Shanghai along with another teacher. We had arranged to split the cost of the hotel while in the USA, as he was in the same group as me.
We went on the bund and we got separated. As I was taking pictures, some Chinese students from Beijing came up to me. They sort of surrounded me, and we took pictures together.
They spoke pretty good English and I foolishly trusted them. They asked me if I wanted to go to a tea house nearby, which turned out to be a scam. I barely got out alive.
I made it back to the hotel, crossing the bridge.
The following day, we boarded the bus and were on our way to Nanjing. It was there that I met Mrs. Yao our Chinese sponsor and quickly learned that the Judemans were in charge in name only.
We were given the “red carpet treatment” and treated very well. The weekend was spend going on tours and I got to see the Holocaust Museum from the Japanese Invasion of Najing, dedicated to the Nanjing Massacre. We were taken to several other Museums as well.
We had to wait in line. It was mostly school kids who were going to the Museum. I was quickly learning that in China Personal space does not exist. People stand much closer to each other. The kids all had hats on for the sun and water bottles. Many had umbrellas to keep out the sun.
The kids stood there quietly, waiting to go inside. They kept looking at us. So were the adults.
Then we went inside. We ended up getting lost and very thirsty. The little Chinese I knew here worked and we were able to make it back to the group.
The following days I taught Chinese teachers during the day and went on tours on the nights and weekends. The Chinese teachers, that were supposed to know English barely spoke English. So there was a lot work to be covered. I decided to follow the lesson plan and that appeared to work.
One of the first things I learned was that, for two hours in the afternoon, there is not only lunch but that everyone takes a nap. I was told that the children take a nap as well in the middle of the day. I was also told about the morning exercises at 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM and the eye exercises in the afternoon. Everyone, as the Judeman’s had told me eat together and from the same plates. We of course ate only with chop sticks (quasar). Water and milk served at the table is never cold. Hot tea is the beverage of choice. There was no bread at the meals and there were vegetables cooked in many ways that I had never seen before. Noodles were also served and occasionally rice. For dessert there was dragon fruit and watermelon.
Steamed Dumplings were also served for our school lunches.
The teachers tended to be very quiet and hardly spoke. At one point this kid, who was about 14 years old named Wan Gee, joined our class. He was allowed to stay, as he was a member of one of our staff.
I taught class to the teachers for two weeks. During that time I learned that typically there are 60 kids to a class. I also learned that there are no flush toilets in the bathroom only a trough. That was the bathroom at Tamming Elementary School in Huai’an.
The cultural life centered around eating, sleeping and how patriotism toward China. Cooperation was much more integrated. When we covered a topic such as eating,
The Chinese children I taught, were polite and very friendly. The called me Laushi, which means teacher. The teachers and children enjoy a goof relationship. Children are expected to respect their teacher. I also quickly noticed was that the teachers and students eat together.
The children work in groups and not as individuals in the elementary and middle school level. There are typically 60 children to one teacher. In America, the numbers are usually under 30 students to a class. A lot of the activities are active in Chinese education rather than students being passive learners. The children learn English by role playing and through games and activities. The amount of time spend doing written work was not as expected and only a minimal, part of the instructional process, which is different from American Education. Motivation and classroom expectations are driven by the child's family rather than the school. The opposite is often the case in the United States.
Zhang Xingshui, a researcher into minors and the criminal justice system at Beijing's China University of Politics and Law, said that Chinese children were routinely subjected to physical punishment, perhaps blurring the notion of abuse in the public imagination.
"Violence against minors, in particular against children, happens all the time," Zhang told RFA's Mandarin service.
He said there were "no specific rules" in existing legislation governing the protection of minors to forbid the physical punishment of children.
"That's why I think that we could add some legislation on this issue, so that there is some basis in law for designating certain actions illegal," Zhang said.
"That way, we can pursue legal responsibility [for such acts]," he said.
A report in the China Youth Daily newspaper said the online poll had revealed that the physical abuse of children happened mostly in their own homes, and that it was most likely to occur in households where the marital relationship was under strain.
More than 49 percent of the 300 elementary schoolchildren surveyed said they had been smacked.
Source of Information Regarding Child Abuse in China
Radio Free Asia is funded by the United States. "Radio Free Asia (RFA) is a private, nonprofit corporation that operates a radio station and Internet news service. RFA was founded by an act of the US Congress and is operated by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). The RFA is supported in part by grants from the federal government of the United States of America. RFA broadcasts in nine Asian languages for audiences in at least six countries.
BBG's stated mission is "to promote and sustain freedom and democracy by broadcasting accurate and objective news and information about the United States and the world to audiences overseas. [...] RFA broadcasts news and information to Asian listeners who lack regular access to full and balanced reporting in their domestic media. Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia."established by the United States Congress and funded by the Federal Government of the United States of America. Its mandate is to broadcast timely, accurate news happening within its broadcast region that is "otherwise not reported"." (9)
An interview with Gregory Hession, an experienced lawyer American parents are often the subject of false child abuse allegations. In addition, even for the most benign actions such as, even for a child forgetting his coat to school can and will bring a call to the house from the social worker. If the parent refuses to let the social worker in, the police are called in and will break the door down if now allowed to get inside.
Teachers are not allowed to use corporal punishment. Punishment varies from, loss of recess, getting sent to guidance, having the therapist come into the school, calling social services on the parents, detention, in school suspension, our of school suspension or calling the police.
Most parents send their children to either a public or private institution. According to government data, one-tenth of students are enrolled in private schools. Approximately 85% of students enter the public schools, largely because they are tax-subsidized (tax burdens by school districts vary from area to area).
There are more than 14,000 school districts in the country.
More than $500 billion is spent each year on public primary and secondary education.
Most states require that their school districts within the state teach for 180 days a year.
Parents may also choose to educate their own children at home; 1.7% of children are educated in this manner.
Nearly 6.2 million students between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2007 dropped out of high school, including nearly three of 10 Hispanics.
The issue of high-school drop-outs is considered important to address as the incarceration rate for African-American male high school dropouts is about 50 (fifty) times the national average. In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that forced busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation. This ruling resulted in a white flight from the inner cities which largely diluted the intent of the order. This flight had other, non-educational ramifications as well. Integration took place in most schools though de facto segregation often determined the composition of the student body. By the 1990s, most areas of the country have been released from mandatory busing.
In 2010, there were 3,823,142 teachers in public, charter, private, and Catholic elementary and secondary schools. They taught a total of 55,203,000 students, who attended one of 132,656 schools.
States do not require proper reporting from their school districts to allow analysis of efficiency of return on investment. The Center for American Progress, called a "left-leaning think tank", commends Florida and Texas as the only two states that provide annual school-level productivity evaluations which report to the public how well school funds are being spent at the local level. This allows for comparison of school districts within a state.
In 2010, American students rank 17th in the world. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says that this is due to focusing on the low end of performers. All of the recent gains have been made, deliberately, at the low end of the socioeconomic scale and among the lowest achievers. The country has been outrun, the study says, by other nations because the US has not done enough to encourage the highest achievers.
About half of the states encourage schools to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
Teachers worked from about 35 to 46 hours a week, in a survey taken in 1993. In 2011, American teachers worked 1,097 hours in the classroom, the most for any industrialized nation measured by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. They spend 1,913 hours a year on their work, just below the national average of 1,932 hours for all workers. In 2011, the average annual salary of a preK-12 teacher was $55,040.
Transporting students to and from school is a major concern for most school districts. School buses provide the largest mass transit program in the country, 8.8 billion trips per year. Non-school transit buses give 5.2 billion trips annually. 440,000 yellow school buses carry over 24 million students to and from schools.
School start times are computed with busing in mind. There are often three start times: for elementary, for middle/junior high, and for high school. One school district computed its cost per bus (without the driver) at $20,575 annually. It assumed a model where the average driver drove 80 miles per day. A driver was presumed to cost $.62 per mile (1.6 km). Elementary schools started at 7:30, middle schools/junior high school started at 8:15 and senior high schools at 9:00. While elementary school started earlier, they also finish earlier, at 2:25, middle schools at 3:10 and senior high schools at 3:55. All school districts establish their own times and means of transportation within guidelines set by their own state.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2011)
Main article: Primary education in the United States
Historically, in the United States, local public control (and private alternatives) have allowed for some variation in the organization of schools. Elementary school includes kindergarten through fifth grade (or sometimes, to fourth grade, sixth grade or eighth grade). Basic subjects are taught in elementary school, and students often remain in one classroom throughout the school day, except for physical education, library, music, and art classes. There are (as of 2001) about 3.6 million children in each grade in the United States.
Typically, the curriculum in public elementary education is determined by individual school districts. The school district selects curriculum guides and textbooks that reflect a state's learning standards and benchmarks for a given grade level. Learning Standards are the goals by which states and school districts must meet adequate yearly progress (AYP) as mandated by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This description of school governance is simplistic at best, however, and school systems vary widely not only in the way curricular decisions are made but also in how teaching and learning take place. Some states and/or school districts impose more top-down mandates than others. In others, teachers play a significant role in curriculum design and there are few top-down mandates. Curricular decisions within private schools are made differently than they are in public schools, and in most cases without consideration of NCLB.
Public Elementary School teachers typically instruct between twenty and thirty students of diverse learning needs. A typical classroom will include children with a range of learning needs or abilities, from those identified as having special needs of the kinds listed in the Individuals with Disabilities Act IDEA to those that are cognitively, athletically or artistically gifted. At times, an individual school district identifies areas of need within the curriculum. Teachers and advisory administrators form committees to develop supplemental materials to support learning for diverse learners and to identify enrichment for textbooks. Many school districts post information about the curriculum and supplemental materials on websites for public access.
In general, a student learns basic arithmetic and sometimes rudimentary algebra in mathematics, English proficiency (such as basic grammar, spelling, and vocabulary), and fundamentals of other subjects. Learning standards are identified for all areas of a curriculum by individual States, including those for mathematics, social studies, science, physical development, the fine arts, and reading. While the concept of State Learning standards has been around for some time, No Child Left Behind has mandated that standards exist at the State level.
Elementary School teachers are trained with emphases on human cognitive and psychological development and the principles of curriculum development and instruction. Teachers typically earn either a Bachelors or Masters Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. The teaching of social studies and science are often underdeveloped in elementary school programs. Some attribute this to the fact that elementary school teachers are trained as generalists; however, teachers attribute this to the priority placed on developing reading, writing and math proficiency in the elementary grades and to the large amount of time needed to do so. Reading, writing and math proficiency greatly affect performance in social studies, science and other content areas. Certification standards for teachers are determined by individual states, with individual colleges and universities determining the rigor of the college education provided for future teachers. Some states require content area tests, as well as instructional skills tests for teacher certification in that state.
The broad topic of Social Studies may include key events, documents, understandings, and concepts in American history, and geography, and in some programs, state or local history and geography. Topics included under the broader term "science" vary from the physical sciences such as physics and chemistry, through the biological sciences such as biology, ecology, and physiology. Most States have predetermined the number of minutes that will be taught within a given content area. Because No Child Left Behind focuses on reading and math as primary targets for improvement, other instructional areas have received less attention. There is much discussion within educational circles about the justification and impact of having curricula that place greater emphasis on those topics (reading, writing and math) that are specifically tested for improvement.
Race and Incarceration in the United States
The United States Enjoys the highest incarceration rate in the industrialized world. The mental health status of American children has continued to decline resulting in large populations of male youth and young adults graduating to prison, most of whom are minorities. The United States enjoys the highest numbers of children who are available for adoption in the industrialized world, who have been removed from the home by a state social service agency. (10 )
Human Rights Watch on it’s web page on October 24, 2012 presented new figures documenting racial disparities state-by-state in the incarceration of African Americans and.
The figures reveal the extraordinary magnitude of minority incarceration and the stark disparity in their rates of incarceration compared to those of whites. Out of a total population of 1,976,019 incarcerated in adult facilities, 1,239,946 or 63 percent are black or Latino, though these two groups constitute only 25 percent of the national population. The figures also demonstrate significant differences among the states in the extent of racial disparities.
Incarceration of Blacks
• In twelve states, between 10 and 15 percent of adult black men are incarcerated.
• In ten states, between 5 and 10 percent of black adults are incarcerated.
• In twelve states, black men are incarcerated at rates between twelve and sixteen times greater than those of white men.
• In fifteen states, black women are incarcerated at rates between ten and thirty-five times greater than those of white women.
• In six states, black youth under age eighteen are incarcerated in adult facilities at rates between twelve and twenty-five times greater than those of white youth. In addition, the stark reality that no child under the age of fifteen can be tried for any crime in the People’s Republic of China, while the sold called “Leader of the Free World) tries juveniles as adults.
[Human Rights Watch.org October 24, 2012]
This author's own personal experience with racism happened when I was teaching in Georgetown , Carolina. My Gloria and I were Special Education teachers who were teaching with Georgetown County Public Schools in South Carolina. The blacks literally lived on one side of the railroad tracks, while the whites lived on the other side of the tracks. The whites live in nice brick homes, while most the blacks lived in shacks and trailers.
This author met colleague and friend, Jibreel Khazan at Woodland Commons at the University of Massachusetts at the Andrew Young event book signing in the Winter of 2010. While I was getting the book signed Walk in My Shoes. , He noticed Jibreel standing there and they just stated talking.
"We became good friends and colleagues. I also introduced him to each of my children. Jibreel spoke about growing up in North Carolina on the other side of the tracks. The gave me a blow by blow account of how he was traumatized by racial attacks on him and his friends after the sit in at Wool Worths in North Carolina. He told me how he had to flee or he would have been killed. " James Paicopolos- Author
According to Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia, Jibreel Khazan (born Ezell A. Blair, Jr.), is an African American civil rights activist who was one of the Greensboro Four. On February 1, 1960, they sat down at a segregated lunch counter in the Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth's store, challenging the store's policy on segregation. This event was a major milestone in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
Blair's father, Ezell A. Blair, Sr., was a very vocal man on the subject of racial injustice. When his father experienced unjust treatment based on color, he "stood up." This had a big impact on Blair growing up.
Blair graduated from Dudley High School, where his father taught, and was awarded a B.S. in sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in 1963. While an undergraduate, he was elected president of his class in his Junior year, was president of the student government association, the campus NAACP and the Greensboro Congress for Racial Equality.
In 1958, Blair traveled to Bennett College while still in high school to hear Martin Luther King, Jr., speak. He was "captivated" as King addressed the audience. At that speech, King called for an escalation of non-violent protests to end segregated accommodation. King remarked that, as a youngster in Atlanta, he "never took a seat on the back of the busses. I was only there physically, but my mind was up front." King's words had a powerful impact on Blair, "so strong that I could feel my heart palpitating. It brought tears to my eyes."
On February 1, 1960, Blair was a freshman student at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical College, an all black college when he, along with classmates David Richmond, Joseph McNeil, and Franklin McCain, took the bold step of violating the Greensboro Woolworth's segregation policy.
Blair stated that he had seen a documentary on Gandhi's use of "passive insistence" that had inspired him to act. Each of the participants in the sit had different catalysts, but it is clear that the four men had a close friendship that mutually reinforced their desire to act.
Blair moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1965 after finding life difficult in Greensboro, having been labeled a "troublemaker." In 1968, he joined the Islamic Center of New England and changed his name to Jibreel Khazan.
Toni Saunders is a well renowned children of color activist who founded the Associated Advocacy Center. She has worked diligently to assist minority special needs children. A telephone interview with her revealed that in Massachusetts there is a stark disparity in the way children of color are treated with respect to white children. She described the school to pipeline to prison of minority youth. She spoke of how life without parole sentences are disproportionately imposed on African American youth in Massachusetts.
According to a thesis paper written by Toni Saunder:
"Black youth make up only 6.5 percent of the state population of all children under age 18, but are 47 percent of those sentenced to serve life terms without the possibility of parole for a childhood offense The United States Constitution mandates that state juvenile justice systems treat similarly situated children equally, regardless of their race or national origin. Systems in which youth of color are overrepresented are often viewed as failing to adhere to this mandate. That perception not only undermines public confidence in the system’s fairness but also impedes the system’s ability to work with the families and children who need its help. For each of the last ten years, minority youth have accounted for approximately 20% of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s juvenile population, but nearly 60% of the young people securely detained after arraignment and before adjudication, and 60% of those committed to the Commonwealth’s Department of Youth Services (DYS) after an adjudication of delinquency. Although the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act requires that the Commonwealth determine why youth of color are overrepresented and develop and implement a plan to reduce that overrepresentation, Massachusetts has done neither.
In 2003, the Racial Justice Program of the National Legal Department of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (collectively, the ACLU) published a report documenting the Commonwealth’s failure to comply with its federal legal obligations. After the report’s publication, the Commonwealth hired a Disproportionate Minority Contact Reduction Specialist to educate others about the overrepresentation of youth of color; increased the compensation of and training opportunities for attorneys who represent indigent youth; funded an alternative-to-detention pilot project in Dorchester to supervise children who would have been detained if such supervision had not been available; and began to work with the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to create alternatives to detention in Boston and Worcester. Although the number of youth detained and committed decreased, the extent to which youth of color are disproportionately confined did not. In 2007, minority youth were overrepresented in the Commonwealth’s detention and correctional (treatment) facilities to the same extent that they had been in 1998. Hispanics also face incarceration at a rate much higher than whites. (10)
Incarceration of Hispanics
• In nine states, between 4 and nearly 8 percent of adult Latino men are incarcerated.
• In twelve states, between 2 and 4 percent of Hispanic adults (men and women) are incarcerated.
• In ten states, Latino men are incarcerated at rates between five and nine times greater than those of white men.
• In eight states, Latina women are incarcerated rates that are between four and seven times greater than those of white women.
• In four states, Hispanic youth under age eighteen are incarcerated in adult facilities at rates between seven and seventeen times greater than those of white youth.
The reasons for these troubling statistics . Crime rates, law enforcement priorities, sentencing legislation and other factors play a role in creating racial disparities in incarceration. For example, penal policies instituted to control crime have exacerbated longstanding racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Sentences for violent crimes have been substantially increased through the passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, "three strikes" laws, and truth in sentencing laws that require inmates to serve 85 percent of their sentences. Because blacks constitute a large percentage among those arrested for violent crimes (45 percent-a proportion that has not changed significantly over the years), they are disproportionately affected by the longer sentences.
Blacks have also been disproportionately affected by the national "war on drugs", carried out primarily through the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of street level drug offenders from inner city communities. In 1996, for example, blacks constituted 62.6 percent of all drug offenders admitted to state prisons. In at least fifteen states, black men were sent to prison on drug charges at rates ranging from twenty to fifty-seven times those of white men. Blacks are prosecuted in federal courts more frequently than whites for crack cocaine offenses, and thus as a group have felt the effects of the longer sentences for crack versus powder cocaine mandated in federal law. Racial profiling and other forms of unequal treatment of minorities by the criminal justice system have further contributed to the overrepresentation of minorities in the incarcerated population. Minority youth are treated far more harshly compared to similarly situated white counterparts within the juvenile criminal justice system.
As the charts in this update reveal, there are striking differences among the states in the degree of variations of racial disparities in incarceration. State criminal justice and law enforcement policies clearly play a role in creating these differences. Demographics are important as well. Some of the greatest racial disparities in rates of incarceration occur in states in which minorities are concentrated in urban areas, which tend to have both higher rates of crime and greater law enforcement activity.
The high and disproportionate rate of minority incarceration in the U.S., particularly that of blacks, is a grave challenge to the country. Last year, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights warned that racial inequalities in the criminal justice system threatened to negate fifty years of hard-fought civil right progress. The racial bias of such racially disparate rates of incarceration is evidence that the United States does in continues to use prison system to deny basic rights of civil justice and human rights to minorities. It has become States have choices in the means by which they promote community well-being and protect public safety; the choices made in recent years have levied a particularly high cost on minority communities.
As crime rates have fallen and as high incarceration costs consume ever larger portions of state and county budgets, elected officials and the public in many states are beginning to debate current criminal justice policies and to consider the advantages of alternatives to incarceration. By graphically demonstrating the racial gross disparities in incarceration, we hope to contribute to a reassessment of the fairness and wisdom of over-reliance on punitive crime control measures that have disproportionately burdened the minority communities from which so large a proportion of the incarcerated are drawn.
1 The terms "Latino" and "Hispanic" are used interchangeably to refer collectively to Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Central and South Americans, and others of Spanish and Latin American descent. Hispanics can be of any race, though the figures for whites used in this briefing do not include white Latinos. However, the figures for blacks include black Hispanics, who are also counted as Latinos. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the estimated percentage of blacks who are also counted as Hispanics is 1-3%. Many corrections departments and local jails do not separate Latinos from other racial groups. Most assessments of the racial/ethnic breakdown of the incarcerated population have therefore had to rely on estimates derived from survey samples.
2 Human Rights Watch, "Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 12, no. 2, May 2000.
3 The U.S. Census 2000 includes data on the race, gender, number and age of residents in each of the fifty U.S states, as well as the number, race, gender and age of persons held in each state in various types of confinement facilities, including prisons, federal detention centers, military disciplinary barracks and jails, police lockups, half-way houses used for correctional purposes, local jails, work farms and others. Persons detained in local jails include sentenced prisoners as well as detainees awaiting trial. For an explanation of the Census 2000 methodology, see this page.
11 According to Census 2000, there are 34,658,190 African Americans and 35,305,818 Hispanics in the U.S., out of a total population of 281,421,906.
12 Human Rights Watch, "Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 12, no. 2, May 2000.
13 Maguire, Kathleen and Ann L. Pastore, eds. (2001) Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 2000, (Washington D.C.: Department of Justice - Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001).
Available at http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/.
14 Human Rights Watch, "Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 12, no. 2, May 2000.
15 See e.g. Poe-Yamagata, Eileen and Michael A. Jones, "And Justice for Some: Differential Treatment of Minority Youth in the Justice System." (Washington D.C.: Youth Law Center - Building Blocks for Youth, April 2000). Available at 16http://www.buildingblocksforyouth.org/justiceforsome/jfs.html
17 Weich, Ronald and Carlos Angulo, "Justice on Trial: Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System." (Washington D.C.: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 2000).
Torture in USA Prisons
The United State Media outlets, particularly the Voice of America has blasted China for Human Rights Violations. The cases involve the use of torture in Chinese Prisons.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch consider solitary confinement for extended periods of time as a form of psychological torture. One of the American Hikers, Eddie Bauer, has spoken about solitary confinement as torture in United States Prisons.
Nicole Flatow has written an article about his experience of how formerly imprisoned American Hiker Eddie Baurer's solitary confinement in a United States Prison being as bad as or worse than in Iran. In the latest personal testimony on the cruelty of solitary confinement, one of the American hikers who was held hostage in Iran details how the conditions at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison are at least as bad, and arguably even worse, than those he experienced in Iran.
Writing about his visit to Pelican Bay in Mother Jones, Shane Bauer says the distinctions between the conditions — a “piece of foam” in Pelican Bay versus a mattress in Iran and the fact that his Iran prison cell was twice the size of the American one — are relatively insignificant, compared to the torture and mental manipulation of being totally and completely isolated, which left Bauer wishing every morning for an interrogation in which he would be “sat down in a padded, soundproof room, blindfolded and questioned, just so I could talk to somebody.” At least in his cell in Iran, he had a window, a luxury that allowed him to keep track of the time of day and lacking at Pelican Bay.
For hours, days, I fixated on the patch of sunlight cast against my wall through those barred and grated windows. When, after five weeks, my knees buckled and I fell to the ground utterly broken, sobbing and rocking to the beat of my heart, it was the patch of sunlight that brought me back. Its slow creeping against the wall reminded me that the world did in fact turn and that time was something other than the stagnant pool my life was draining into.
Equally significant is Bauer’s description of the process for putting some 80,000 prisoners into solitary confinement, often for years or decades at a time. Unlike in Iran, where Bauer was accompanied by a lawyer when he faced the Revolutionary Court in Iran (though he wasn’t allowed to speak to him), the decision in California to put an inmate in solitary confinement is made at a private hearing lasting about 20 minutes that absolutely no one can witness, and in which the evidence is secret. The decision is made at the discretion of just one man, an institutional gang investigator.
A common justification is to isolate those thought to be “associates” in prison gangs, and the types of evidence deemed to prove that fact have included possession of black literature, left-wing materials and writing about prisoner rights as evidence.
Defenders of the practice point out that an internal appeal process exists. But when Bauer asked “for an example of an appeal resulting in a reversal of a gang validation, they couldn’t produce a single case. Gang investigator Barneburg, who has worked at Pelican Bay for 15 years, has never seen a validation appeal succeed either—evidence, he says, of his team’s thoroughness.”
If inmates have exhausted the internal appeals process, they can take their case to court, where inmates who represent themselves succeed less than one percent of the time, according to one attorney who has represented inmates in the process. Getting out once in solitary confinement can be even tougher.
Inmates at Pelican Bay have been isolated for as long as 42 years, even as the ACLU, Physicians for Human Rights and The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law all call the practice torture and Human Rights Watch calls it at the very least cruel and inhuman treatment in violation of international law.
A recent report revealed that even youths as young as 13 are being subjected to this treatment, though typically for weeks or months and not years. But every study of solitary confinement has shown negative psychological effects after just 10 days. Bauer includes an excerpt from his journal on the experience:
Eddie Bauer writes " Solitary confinement is a living death. Death because it is the removal of nearly everything that characterizes humanness, living because within it you are still you. The lights don’t turn out as in real death. Time isn’t erased as in sleep…"
Sidney Rittenberg Sr. is co-author, with Amanda Bennett, of “The Man Who Stayed Behind.” He was jailed twice by Mao Zedong, from 1949 to 1955 and from 1968 to 1977, on charges of being an American spy.
He writes about Eleven solitary cells still there in a row with 11 wooden slabs, with iron hasps and double padlocks. He describes how they look like iceboxes, and he thought, and there’s a human being entombed in every one of them.
He mentions about the cold-water sink and a commode with no seat. That was it. There was a steel grate over the barred half-window overhead and another around the two light bulbs, a brighter one for daytime and a dimmer one for night. The cell was about six paces long and three paces wide — little room for exercise. A peephole in the door and another by the commode afforded the guards a clear view.
Near the bottom of the door was a foot-long slot, opened at meal time so I could stick out my bowl for the food cart. Around the peephole was another little slot, opened when guards needed to bark orders at him. All he had was a thin quilt on the bed and a thinner mat on which to lie.
For the first four-plus years of his second incarceration, he was not permitted to lie down outside of regulation sleeping hours. He was also were not permitted to voice any sound.
Later, we were permitted to turn over in bed at night — before that, one had to sleep facing the guard, with hands between neck and navel.
I was supposed to have 30 minutes a day in a roofless cell from which one could see the sky and perhaps even get a bit of sunshine. This was honored mainly in the breach.
U.S. scientists have pointed out that solitary confinement is a form of torture and that few can retain their sanity after a long period in isolation. It is routinely used in China to force confessions out of suspects. I know many who have been through this, and I have seen that the survivors are often partially or wholly mentally crippled.
According to the Fatherhood coalition Solitary confinement is routinely used as torture to force fathers into paying child support.
David Chura Teacher, Author, "I Don't Wish Nobody to Have a Life Like Mine: Tales of Kids in Adult Lockup" wrote an article about The Harm We Do: Kids in Solitary Confinement
His Quotation "Putting juvenile offenders in solitary confinement is high on my list of "cruel and unusual punishment." What else do you call locking up fifteen, sixteen-year-olds, some even younger, in total isolation for 24 hours a day, in some cases for months at a time, never leaving their cells? "All an inmate's needs are met right here," was the way the warden of the adult county jail where I taught high school students proudly described it as he gave a group of professionals a tour of the new Special Housing Unit (SHU). It was true. Each cell had its own phone, shower, toilet, concrete bed, and adjacent small enclosed rec area. All an inmate's needs were met, except for the most essential: human contact of any kind.
These conditions are intolerable for anyone and are replicated nationally in our jails. The United Nations Human Rights Council reported that the U.S. has more inmates in solitary confinement than any other democratic nation. But locking up a kid in those conditions, a kid with more energy than a playground can hold; whose body at times practically vibrates with urges that many more advantaged teens struggle to control; whose emotional and intellectual development is at best undernourished, can only be called "cruel and unusual."
Human Rights Watch agrees. It's recently released "Against All Odds: Prison Conditions for Youth Offenders Serving Life Without Parole in the United States" documents the overuse of solitary confinement with minors and its devastating effects on them, effects heightened by the prospect of life without parole. The young people interviewed considered isolation a "profoundly difficult ordeal," leaving them with "thoughts of suicide, feelings of intense loneliness or depression."
But it's not just "lifers" in solitary who experience those "profound effects." I saw it when I visited my jailhouse students who were locked up in "the cage," as they called it. They were there because corrections deemed them a threat to "safety and security." In too many cases, however, that "threat" came from their acting-out behaviors due to untreated mental health issues or ADHD. Still others were seen as "pains in the ass" who "just needed to be taught a lesson."
It didn't take long for the new SHU to fall apart, the way everything else does in prison. Walls were scuffed and gouged from inmates being dragged in; cell door windows were smeared as guys jammed and angled their faces to see anything, anyone. The only thing shattering that intense sensory deprivation was the sound of inmates shouting to each other, howling through the thick walls, trying to connect with another human, announcing to the world, "I'm still alive." And when they weren't screaming, they were sleeping -- 15, 16 hours a day.
My students deteriorated as well. Once in isolation they abandoned any sense of civilized behavior. Young guys who would come to class shaven and showered, smelling of Old Spice deodorant, in fresh county oranges, now reeked of unwashed bodies; their hair dirty and matted, faces fuzzed; their eyes caked and puffy from sleep. I would bang on the window until they woke up and lifted their heads from under the pillows and blankets they burrowed under against the cold. They'd shuffle over to the door and we'd squat on our own sides of the concrete and glass wall and talk through the meal tray slot. It was then that I'd be hit by their sour, foul breath as though they were slowly decaying from the inside out.
Finally in 2009 the Department of Justice investigated these abuses. The DOJ reported that half of the inmates in the SHU were between 16 and 18, and that the average stay in isolation for juveniles was 365 days. As a result of these "extremely lengthy sentences," the mental health of these young people worsened significantly, aggravated "by the jail's failure" to provide routine treatment. Unfortunately, this is far from an isolated case. Abuses of minors in solitary are happening around the country.
I don't know how many people get the irony involved here, but I do know that the kids I taught did, even though they never "got" irony in class: We lock children up in inhuman conditions in order to teach them how to act human. Unfortunately, as studies have shown, inmates learn a far different lesson. When they leave isolation they are angrier, more distrustful, more cynical about ever getting justice, and more prone to violence. What could be a more "cruel and unusual punishment" then to confirm these young people's bedrock belief that America as it is now has no place for them other than behind bars?
Originally appeared in Youth Today
Imagine how shocked I was to find years later that we, the United States of America, hold more human beings in long-term solitary confinement than any other country in the world. I had supposed it would be China — but, no, it’s us.
The commonwealth of Virginia is one of the worst offenders.
During my first year in solitary darkness, after being forced to take some sort of drugs, my mind collapsed into a state of indescribable anguish and hysteria. I lived in this extreme depression and loss of all control for months, until my captors relieved the pressure, changed my living conditions and gave me some new drugs, which they said were to relieve the effects of the earlier drugs. They also, for a few months, provided me with the companionship of friendly guards outside the cell.
I gradually regained my sanity, but I was left with strong post-traumatic panic syndrome for the next 20-odd years. I would suddenly start palpitating, break out in a cold sweat and feel a terrible pressure on my forehead as though it was being squeezed in an iron hoop. These attacks would last for less than one minute, but each time I was terrified that the horribly painful madness I had been through would return.
Finally, during my later 10 years in solitary, I learned how to eliminate these terrifying episodes by using techniques that I later learned are called cognitive therapy.
How I learned to survive and to regain my health is not the point. The point is that solitary confinement is undeniably cruel and unusual punishment. Long-term solitary confinement should be declared unconstitutional. And it is a disgrace for the great commonwealth of Virginia, given the glorious role it has played in our country’s history and its proximity to our nation’s capital, to be guilty of large-scale imposition of this torture on any human beings.
Using Drugs to Control School Behavior in the United States
According to Mrs. Yao and several of the other Chinese teachers, Chinese children do not take psychotropic medications. Mrs. Yao said that it is very rare for a child to misbehave in a Chinese School. In addition, test scores of Chinese Students, in particular math are consistently higher.
In 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration required its most serious warning, a black box label, for Concerta, along with all other ADHD drugs. The label for these drugs warns of a strong link between their use and an increased risk of cardiovascular impairment,
heart attacks and sudden death. The FDA had discovered 16 reports of child deaths linked to Concerta since the drug was introduced in 2000. Similar percentages were found for Ritalin. The agency also noted over 200 reports of psychotic episodes, such as hallucinations and violent behavior, linked to methylphenidate. Increases in blood pressure have been recorded as well. (21)An American doctor from Georgia, Dr. Michael Anderson prescribes Adderall to his low-income patients struggling in elementary school. According to the doctor, the pills boost focus and impulse control in children. Dr. Anderson considers, the
disorder a “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
Dr. Anderson is one of the more doctors who argue this idea that is gaining interest. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance.
These medications are being used on low-income elementary school children with faltering grades and parents eager to see them succeed.
According to Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, “We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions who is an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children.
Dr. Nancy Rappaport, a child psychiatrist in Cambridge, Mass., working with primarily lower-income school children added: “We are seeing this more and more. We are using a chemical straitjacket instead of doing things that are just as important to also do, sometimes more.” (21)
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Published: October 9, 2012
Religion and Chinese Culture in Public Schools in China
In December 2004, the Chinese government announced new rules that guarantee religious beliefs as a human right. According to an article in The People’s Daily: “As China has more than 100 million people believing in religion, so the protection of religious freedom is important in safeguarding people’s interests and respecting and protecting human rights.” (22)
In China moral teaching is taught as a subject, in which the values of socialism, prevail. Chinese Children are taught to work cooperatively and to love their parents, teachers and classmates. The teacher is respected by the students, but the teacher also must respect the student. This author was present when students did fact, "talk back to the teacher". Rather than the student being punished, the teacher talked back to the student. Disciple, consists of elaborate explanations by the teacher to the student's issues. But values consistently focus around study, getting good grades and socialism.
Policy and Culture in American and Chinese Education
Policy and Culture in American Education
In the United States, children and teachers are not allowed to practice religion in school, however Western Christian values do prevail. Presently, the laws reflect western thought and religion, which dictate school rules and policy.
The constructs or policies include the following:
Policy and Culture in Chinese Education
In the China, children and teachers are not allowed to practice religion in school, however Chinese Socialism and Confucianism values do prevail. Presently, the laws reflect Chinese thought and belief, which dictate school rules and policy.
In summary, The Cultural Differences of Learning and Achievement Of Chinese and American Elementary and Middle School Students is a complex topic. Chinese families place a strong emphasis on education and academic, while the Chinese Schools rely on the parents for motivation. In the United States, the United States Department of Education and State Departments of Education dictate policy.
In the Peoples Republic of China, Children cannot be tried as Adults, however in the United States, children are routinely tried as adults, when they commit a serious crime. In addition, if a child "cannot' behave in school, they are often drugged. Once the doctor has prescribed the medication, if the parent refuses to give the child the medication, it is considered educational neglect and the child can be taken and put into foster care.
Chinese schools do not have special education classes for children with learning disabilities.
Children in the United States are entitled to a free and appropriate education, which includes help for learning disabled children. When the child needed extra help, the parents will come into the schools. Children who misbehave are not medicated and behavior is maintained by moral teaching, peer group pressure, and by making sure that they are meeting academic expectations. Parents are free to discipline as they see fit, which can result in corporal punishment, but this is rare. Teachers are not allowed to use physical forms of punishment. Chinese children often receive the same awards as the rest of the class. The photos class work and pictures are posted outside the classroom to show their good standing and achievement. Chinese boys are often treated as "little princes", however girls are now treated much better than in the past, although cultural differences still prevail with boys being favored.
Chinese Educational and Behavior Management practices in Chinese Public Schools involve group activities and loyalty to the teacher and classmates. Socialism and working toward helping their peers as well as themselves presents as the mantra. American Educational and Behavior Management practices in American Public Schools involve primarily individual activities and following school rules and consequences for not following school rules. Using psychotropic medications is an integral part of childhood behavior management. It can also be restated as using Drugs to control behavior in children is an integral part of childhood behavior management.
Chinese Educational practices create the outcome of Chinese Students consistently being able to better manage their behavior better and do better academically without the use of psychotropic medications and without trained and licensed counselors and are better adjusted than American Students. Chinese educational policy is rooted in Communism, Asian religion and culture. Confucianism and Communism contribute strongly to Chinese Education and Practice. Chinese parents are clearly in charge of behavior, while American Parents are restricted in how to discipline and care of their children with strict state controls, under the threat having the child removed from the home and placed into foster care.
American Students under perform academically and behaviorally than Chinese Students. China operates in a quasi-socialist state that has a comprehensive safety network, insuring each family has enough to eat and a place to live. In the United States, transitional assistance is given up to two years. If the family cannot find a job and become homeless and are unable to find shelter, the children are placed into foster care.
With respect to the author’s experiences teaching in China and the United States and also research Chinese Educational practices vs. American Educational Practices one notes distinct differences. Chinese parents are directly involved in their Child's behavior. However, the threshold for a child misbehaving is much higher. For example, the author, broke up a fight between two boys. The Chinese teacher, remarked, " Why were you so worried they were fights. That is what boys do, they fight."
Employing Chinese teaching methodology would mean that students would get more rest periods during school, but the lessons and home work may be more intense. One other clear difference, is that Chinese Children are treated, more like that they need to be trained properly, almost as if they were animals. American Children is more like, the children must follow the laws of the classroom and community or face the consequences. In addition, if a child is consistently misbehaving, there must be a psychological basis for the behavior.
In addition, one might expect the opposite, but Chinese child behavior management, means that the threshold for misbehavior may in some instances may be actually lower than in the United States. The students are expected to show respect for their parents and teachers and do so. The students are also be expected to help their classmates succeed in school. There would also need to be both a winter break lasting 3 weeks and summer vacation, that about the same time as American Education.
While the American School year is becoming longer, the Chinese School year has remained shorter than the American School year, yet the students do better.
The Chinese school year is broken into two semesters, the first beginning in the fall and lasting until the beginning of January. Everyone generally has three weeks to a month to travel during the Chinese New Year holiday, then the school year ends in May or June. Hiring takes place during the intervening months.
The instruction in China for Math and Science is given the greatest weighting. The Chinese Students are expected to spend a lot of time studying so that they can pass the examination and get into a better Middle School or University.
1 http://inpraiseofchina.blogspot.com/2012/07/china-police-state.html 1.
11 US Census 2000, there are 34,658,190 African Americans and 35,305,818 Hispanics in the U.S., out of a total population of 281,421,906.
12 Human Rights Watch, "Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 12, no. 2, May 2000.
13 Maguire, Kathleen and Ann L. Pastore, eds. (2001) Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 2000, (Washington D.C.: Department of Justice - Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001).
14 Available at http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/.
16 Weich, Ronald and Carlos Angulo, "Justice on Trial: Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System." (Washington D.C.: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 2000).
17 Human Rights Watch, "Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 12, no. 2, May 2000.
18 See e.g. Poe-Yamagata, Eileen and Michael A. Jones, "And Justice for Some: Differential Treatment of Minority Youth in the Justice System." (Washington D.C.: Youth Law Center - Building Blocks for Youth, April 2000). Available at http://www.buildingblocksforyouth.org/justiceforsome/jfs.html
19 Weich, Ronald and Carlos Angulo, "Justice on Trial: Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System." (Washington D.C.: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 2000).
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