In December, China stunned the world when the most widely used international education assessment revealed that Shanghai’s schools now outperform those of any other country—not only in math and science but also in reading. Some education experts have attributed these results to recent reforms undertaken by the Chinese government. Jiang Xueqin has been active in Chinese education since 1998, when as a Yale undergraduate he taught for six months at one of the top high schools in China, Beida Fuzhong, or the Affiliated High School of Peking University.
The reform movement in the US is led by a bunch of Ivy League people who are obsessed with data. They have allies in the media like Thomas Friedman and are bankrolled by billionaires like Bill Gates. They want to bring “accountability” to the American school system. That means testing. They use China as the Yellow Peril. “If our kids can’t do math, China is going to kick our ass. Our kids are going to end up as Chinese slaves.” The media loves it because fear sells.
It is amazing to see it. You have this system in the US that’s great for elites but is not so great for everyone else. In China you have a country trying to create an elite system. -- NY Review, "Solving China's Schools".