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March 18, 2008



When I told my American academic advisors and peers that I wanted to be a doctor, they would
NEVER show encouragement.

Instead they would ask "Why? Are your parents forcing you?" Then they would go on a lengthy discussion about how they think Indian culture is oppressive.

Whereas an Indian would say "Wow, what a great opportunity. Pursue it and do the best!"

If I bought a brand name product such as clothing, shoes or even a greeting card, an American would show appreciation by saying "I like that wow!"

Whereas, an Indian would say, "Why do you spend so much time worrying about such things? Do you really need that anyway? Save up your money for your education"

If I told an American they are looking fat, they would be offended as if I was putting them down.

If I told an Indian they are looking fat, they would say "I didn't realize I had put on that much weight. Thanks for looking out for me."

Indian society is a communal society. American society is about the individual.

Indians look out for one another. It takes a village to raise a person. So when it comes to your education everyone in Indian society is involved. Your parents, teachers, relatives, friends. They all look out for you because if you don't succeed, they won't either.

Whereas, Americans cut themselves off from the community in order to be an individual. It is so bad to the point that most Americans don't even listen do their own doctors advice. They think the doctor is threatening their individuality. A popular American phrase is "Don't tell me what to do." But I'd like to ask, "Even if it's for your own good?"

Americans need to realize power can't be achieved by an individual on their own, power comes to the individual through the help of others and that power can be taken away from the individual by those same people.

So in my example about what my advisors told me when I wanted to be a doctor, they thought my parents were oppressing me and my individuality. Whereas, an Indian would see it as my success is also their success.

If you ask an American what is the secret to their success, they will talk about themselves. But if you ask an Indian, they won't think there is a secret, they will just mention appreciation to their parents and teachers.

Priscila Martinez

Dear Mr. Compton

My name is Priscila Martinez. Growing up I obtained good grades without much effort since they were just simple classes. As I grew older, I realized that I needed more than just a better than average.

My senior year I wanted to make up for my lack of competitive edge and I took the honors classes and the AP classes. I had to work 15-20 hours a week, I was the vice president of a club, I was involved in National Honor Society. From first hand experience, trying to be smart and be well rounded was hard. I constantly did not sleep or I would get sick all of the time because I was always under stress. You might say that that is how it supposed to be, that there are harder times ahead. However, when I look back at my senior year, it was very depressing. I never had time for anything; I was always in a bad mood. I think the saddest part for me was that I could not enjoy things. I hated school and I started to hate learning. I was always living half of my life because I was always too tired to enjoy anything at all. Those kids in China and India weren’t happy. Except for Jin Ruizhang, and Neil and Britney, the rest didn’t look happy. There has to be some passion behind the hard work. Otherwise, what is the point of doing anything at all?

How are we supposed to care only about our grades when that is not good enough for Universities and for our Careers? They want the extra experience; they want to know that you have real life experience. However, none of those kids that you showed in your movie was the president of a club or was involved in an activity with actual interaction with other kids. In a world, you will be working with people and although I do agree with your point that education is to rule above everything else, you have to understand that these activities are important on some level.

Now I go to Schoolcraft College, where one of my activities is to promote your movie. I constantly do research on this matter and although there is not much out there, I still strive have my questions answered. In the fall I will be going to the University of Michigan. I hope that there I will get some questions answered. They seem to have the total package, they study a whole lot and they are still involved in extracurricular activities.

Watching your movie raises a very valid point, but now I need more than just to raise my awareness, I need to teach Schoolcraft what can they do? How as students can we become more globally competitive? How can the professors improve with their techniques to teach students the best? Do we have to select one professor that is the best in one subject and have them teach the rest of the professors as they do in China? Where do we start from now? If the government is not pressing us to do something, and our society is not either, how do we change this problem from the bottom up?

-Priscila Martinez

make children successful

It's really good blog with lots of encouragement and zeal hidden in it. My hairs stood erect for a minute. There should be some one who can encourage the children keeping the historical facts and fiction of historical leaders and idealistic person to build their memories. Einstein at his childhood was unable to read and write things easily know he is one of the renowned scientist.
There should be some kind of motivational tools and equipments which makes children successful thinking broad and extreme.


I think the most interesting part of this is how he describes how 'Americanized' first-generation American-Asians are becoming, in that they too are caring less about education; I think this goes against what a lot of people (secretly or overtly) believe in that Chinese, Indians, Japanese, etc are 'inherently' dedicated towards math and science rather than it being a cultural adaptation.

Meena Ansari


My name is Meena Ansari.

I am in 11th grade and I currently attend an online public high school.

Even I also finished elementary school in India and I began Jr high here in America.

I completely and totally agree with each and every word you said.

I only attended traditional public school from 7th grade till 9th grade.

Middle school was fine, until I began freshman year of high school.

I got say, I was VERY dissapointed.

I remember being back in India, my peers used to study so hard.

Even I myself remember going to private tuition classes just so I could get atleast above average grade, if not excellent.

When I came here to America, I found the studies much easier.

Especially when I entered high school, I was really dissapointed.

I saw that my peers were not even close to as being studious or motivated as my classmates back in India.

Not everyone was like that, but yes, a large majority of them seemed like they just did't care.

I infact noticed that they were more into dating, dances and football games.

Due to my upbringing, and also due to my relatively subdued personality, I was naturally declined from all this.

Therefore, I did't blend in at all.

I was not allowed to daee, I was not allowed to go to dances and up till this date I have only been to one football game.

And to be honest, I don't regret it at all.

I even opted for homeschooling due to these very reasons.

And trust me, I found homeschooling actually better in terms of quality of education.

Because in homeschooling, I have to follow the rigid state guidelines that were taken in a lenient way when I was in tradtional high school.

As of now, I am completely satisfied with my education.

I get to work at my own pace, at my own time, and I am actually "learning".

However, I am not going to say that every school is bad, its the AMERCIAN way of high school that I am very dissatisfied with.

I completely agree with the following statement:

the key to our education success does not need big budget, fancy school building, large football field, indoor swimming pool, tennis court ....
What it really needs is a group of dedicated educators who are willing and able to teach our students with goal and pride, motivated students who are willing to learn and to challenge the current education system and their loving-care parents who are willing to spend those critical "Two Million Minutes" with their children for the sake of their future and the future of this great country.

That is VERY true.

I am always hearing ALL the time, that the governemt is spending oh so many million dollars into education.

Yet, myself as a student, I see barely any improvement.

Even in my point of view, I do not agree with the fact that fancy schools = quality education.

Yes, there should be extra curricular activities

and YES we all have the right to have a good time

but that is not all there is to high school.

I am very happy that someone like Mr. Compton is speaking up and raising awareness.

I hope that when I grow up, I can also do something for the education system of my country, the United States.

- Meena Ansari

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