[EDITORIALS]Cookie-cutter schools failCompetition intensifies every year among students seeking admission to special high schools that concentrate on science or foreign languages. The popularity of special schools was well illustrated recently when a private education institute held a meeting attended by thousands of parents who wanted to know how to get their children enrolled in these schools.
The heated interest of parents may be derived from their dissatisfaction with the current education system under which middle schools and high schools are filled by the government according to students’ residential addresses and grades to erase educational differences among schools. We believe solutions lie in revising the system, such as allowing more special high schools that use their own admissions standards.
The current standardization of high school enrollments has contributed to expanding educational opportunity; however, as suggested by the sobriquet “degrading standardization,” students of a wide variety of academic aptitudes study in the same classroom, undermining effectiveness. “Collapse of the classroom” is a familiar term. Right or not, an overdependency on private education has developed. As students get older, they score lower on scholastic aptitude tests, and universities have found that students lack the basic educational skills needed for college. As a result the number of students going overseas in pursuit of better education is rising,
Parents and students prefer special high schools because they provide a better chance to enter the top universities in Korea or overseas, not because they develop students’ special talents earlier, the stated purpose. Students at special schools inevitably perform better in competition with students of similar scholastic aptitude.
When elementary school students are being tutored to enter a special high school, a boundary has been crossed. The government must seek remedial measures if it cannot change the system. Parents want to know when the government will stop forcing students into classrooms of degrading standardization.