On November 11, roughly a week after the presidential election, it was reported that Stanford University professor Linda Darling-Hammond, the president of the California State Board of Education, would be heading the education transition team for former Vice President Joe Biden.
As The Washington Free Beacon reports, Darling-Hammond has “praised the Chinese Communist Party’s education system for its ‘magical work.'”
“Linda Darling-Hammond, a leading figure in California education policy, is heading the education transition team for President-elect Joe Biden, where she is expected to emphasize support for teachers and traditional public schools,” The Los Angeles Times reported on November 11.
In her 2017 book, “Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality Around the World,” Darling-Hammond wrote of education systems in Communist China, Singapore, Finland, Wales, Australia and Canada:
These countries not only train individual educators well, but also they deliberately organize the sharing of expertise among teachers and administrators within and across schools so that the system as a whole becomes ever more effective. And they not only cultivate innovative practices but also they incorporate them into the system as a whole, rather than leaving them as exceptions at the margins. This book describes how this seemingly magical work is done.
“In the 1990’s, Shanghai was the first province to implement a national curriculum that broadened beyond traditional subject areas and included change toward more active kinds of pedagogy aimed at critical thinking and problem solving,” Darling-Hammond wrote. “National reform efforts in China have continued in this direction, focusing on encouraging more innovative and creative thinking and encouraging students to follow their interests and potential.”
Darling-Hammond’s rosy view of Communist China has extended to tweeting in 2018, “China’s population of 1.38 billion is more than 4x the population of the US. Yet the 213 school shootings in the US since 2000 is 71 times the 3 such shootings in China. Any way you do the math, our children are suffering in ways that no other major country allows.”
China's population of 1.38 billion is more than 4x the population of the US. Yet the 213 school shootings in the US since 2000 is 71 times the 3 such shootings in China. Any way you do the math, our children are suffering in ways that no other major country allows: https://t.co/wyN9pWhAH0
— LindaDarling-Hammond (@LDH_ed) May 19, 2018
In the abstract for a study published in 2013, Phil He, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, highlighted the “severely limited and untrustworthy” nature of Chinese crime data: “We highlight the feasibility of conducting investigator initiated criminological research that could yield alternative (and more scientific) Chinese crime and delinquency data. It is concluded that Chinese official crime statistics remain severely limited and untrustworthy as a means of true crime measurement.”
The Free Beacon noted some examples of violence in China’s schools that Darling-Hammond ignored: “In October 2018, a woman stabbed 14 children in a kindergarten class. In April 2018, nine students were murdered at a middle school.”
In April 2019, Freedom House noted the authoritarian approach to educating children imposed by the Chinese Communist Party: “Chinese President Xi Jinping wants children and students not just to obey, but to love the Communist Party. At an April 19 conference organized by the Politburo to mark the 100th anniversary of the student-led anti-imperialist May Fourth Movement, he said, ‘We need to … strengthen political guidance for young people, guide them to voluntarily insist on the Party’s leadership, to listen to the Party and follow the Party.’”
The New York Times reported in October 2017 on the increase in Communist Party propaganda in educational materials in China:
Textbooks are getting a larger dose of Communist Party lore, including glorified tales about the party’s fights against foreign invaders like Japan. … The government is scaling back discussion of iconoclastic writers like Lu Xun, amid concerns that exposing students to social criticism may inspire disobedience.
In a stern directive issued last month, the party ordered schools to intensify efforts to promote “Chinese traditional and socialist culture” — a mix of party loyalty and patriotic pride in China’s past. Under this new formulation, the party is presented less as a vanguard of proletarian revolution and more as a force for reviving China and restoring it to its rightful place as a world power.
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