- South Korea's students are among the best in the world and the country routinely outperforms the U.S., with a 93% high school graduation rate and the country's 15-year-olds ranking No. 2 in the world for reading.
- Through after-school tutoring academies known as hagwons, South Korea has created a free market for teaching talent, with private tutors experimenting with new technology and raking in top dollars for their services in an environment that is a true meritocracy—low survey marks or too few students can lead to firing.
- The downside is that one-on-one time with top tutors is typically something only children from the most affluent families can get, and kids are put through a relentless grind of essentially going to school twice each day.
From the article:
... All of this pressure creates real incentives for teachers, at least according to the kids. In a 2010 survey of 6,600 students at 116 high schools conducted by the Korean Educational Development Institute, Korean teenagers gave their hagwon teachers higher scores across the board than their regular schoolteachers: Hagwon teachers were better prepared, more devoted to teaching and more respectful of students' opinions, the teenagers said. Interestingly, the hagwon teachers rated best of all when it came to treating all students fairly, regardless of the students' academic performance. ...