Letter of the Day (Dec. 14): The limits of academic rigor

  • Updated: December 13, 2013 - 6:09 PM

Would a professor who grew up in Taiwan want his kids taught here or there?


Junior high students studied in hopes of success on their high school entrance exams in Taipei, Taiwan.

Photo: Diana Jou • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

I attended the Minnesota Teachers of Mathematics conference a few years back. A math professor from St. Cloud State who had grown up in Taiwan was giving a seminar on why Taiwanese high school students were far ahead in math ability compared with U.S. students (“Stagnant test scores deserve failing grade,” editorial, Dec. 9). He first mentioned that high school math teachers in Taiwan get most of their incomes from tutoring after the regular school day ends. He then said that Taiwanese students have very little time for extracurricular activities such as sports, band, theater or any of the others that U.S. students enjoy. Most of their time is spent studying.

At the end of the session, I asked him if he had children, and if so, where would he want them educated — in St. Cloud or back in Taiwan? He said he had two children and that he would rather have them educated here. He said there is too much pressure on young people in Taiwan. He said there was plenty of time for students to settle down and get serious about academics after high school.

So which system of education is really better?


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters