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China Diaries

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To The Editor:

I would like to thank Tim Fenster for his time and effort on the article he wrote and published in Sunday’s Advance News. The article was done well and was a good summary of our meeting on Friday, where I’m positive I gave him more information and details than he expected during our two-hour meeting.

For that reason, there are just a couple items in the article that were a little muddled, and I wanted to clear them up. In particular, one quote that was printed stated, “There’s a lot of pressure on Chinese students. You’re one in a million (in China).” The point I was trying to make during our conversation was that in China, with a population of 1.3 billion, if someone is one in a million, then there are 1,300 more people just like then, which drives parents to drive their students to be not only one in a million, but one in a billion.

In the same paragraph, I was quoted as saying, “They want to overcome us.” This may have been a message I was sending during our conversation, but what I was trying to communicate was that the U.S. has fallen behind the rest of the world - particularly the Asians - in academics, especially in the subjects of math and science, and they have overtaken the U.S .in this respect.

According to the Dec. 11, 2012, New York Times, American fourth- and eighth-grade students continue to lag behind their global peers. The New York Times wrote, “In the United States, only 7 percent of students reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math, while 48 percent of eighth graders in Singapore and 47 percent of eighth graders in South Korea reached the advanced level. As those with superior math and science skills increasingly thrive in a global economy, the lag among American students could be a cause for concern.”

John H. Rydzewski

Author of “China Diaries and Other Tales from the Road”

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