Monday, May 4, 2009

Deservedly so.

On May 5th, Korea celebrates Children's Day.

I remember when I was attending elementary school in Illinois, the principal always wore a pin that said "Everyday is Children's Day". I thought to myself, "Pshh yeah sure, but we don't get days off of school because it's Children's Day like they do in Korea!"

All ridiculous childhood rants aside, I've come to see first hand that these kids really deserve a break. As I see my cousin come home at 10:30 p.m. from his high school on weekdays because of mandatory studying sessions and go to school every other Saturday, witness 3 year olds saying bye to their moms as they go to day care/preschool, third graders go from piano lessons to tutoring sessions to hakwons to more tutoring, these kids seriously deserve a day when their parents don't go to work and devote an entire day to them.

A few months ago, President Obama compared the U.S. education system to that of South Korea's and noted, "Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea every year. That's no way to prepare them for a 21st-century economy." [source] Obama wants to see longer school days and better after-school programs in the States but will the children oblige? No, wait. Will the teachers oblige?

Korea's education system is by no means perfect and I find myself criticizing it a lot, but I do think it's time for the U.S. to step up its game in education. There are too many forgotten children in our schooling systems. (And honestly, my math and science skills? Completely useless compared to what these kids are learning in Korea.)

Kids who make me feel old on a regular basis.