Front page NY Times story about Shanghai’s test results on the international test, PISA. Having just visited Shanghai, where I saw the incredible bustle of millions of people (on the day we went to Expo, the World’s Fair, they clocked a million visitors–THAT DAY!), this is a stunner.

Our guides told us that students in China work very very hard. Indeed, the results show it.

What always shocks me is that news stories like this one focus on schools–higher teacher pay, etc. They don’t even mention the influence of home–parents who are gung ho for academic achievement. Honestly, that is the elephant in the room, as far as I’m concerned. We need to be honest here. Bring parents along as critically needed partners for education–as they do in China, Finland, etc. Without that, all the money in the world will not get us back to the top rung.

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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