Parenting is the "third rail" of the U.S. education debate. In a desire to avoid giving offense, the role of parenting in K-12 education is rarely discussed.
Studying the facts, however, makes it clear that Asian children - even when born in the US - outperform other races in K-12 education. Asians are disproportionately represented
in science, math and music competitions; in enrollment in tech magnet schools; and in colleges of engineering and science.
It seems a legitimate, albeit very dangerous, question to ask:
Are Western/American students at a permanent academic disadvantage because of differing parental values?
Now Yale Law School professor Amy Chua has authored "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" - a cleared-eyed examination of the sharp contrasts between the parenting approach of Asian and Western parents.
A Wall Street Journal article by Chau summarizes the fundamental differences:
1- "my Western friends consider it strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It's hours two and three that get tough."
2- "What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work"
3- "Once a child starts to excel at something — whether it's math, piano, pitching or ballet — he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun."
4- "Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight A's. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best."
5- "Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently."
6- "Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children's own desires and preferences."
7- "Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment.
By contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they're capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away."