School Scandals

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Kang Shin-who continues to cover the SAT scandal for the Korea Times. Despite the fact that there has been at least an article a day since the event, very little new information has actually been written about. Frustrating for me is that Kang keeps repeating this line without offering any details surrounding it: “When he was trying to leave his former work place, Recas Academy for another academy last December, the hagwon owner kidnapped and beat him up.” 



Kang Shin-who continues to cover the SAT scandal for the Korea Times. Despite the fact that there has been at least an article a day since the event, very little new information has actually been written about. Frustrating for me is that Kang keeps repeating this line without offering any details surrounding it: “When he was trying to leave his former work place, Recas Academy for another academy last December, the hagwon owner kidnapped and beat him up.” 


The new punch today: apparently Jeffrey Sohn lied about having a PHd in politics from Columbia. People, if you have a PHd in politics from Columbia, why would you be working for a hagwon in Seoul???? Also, I wonder what sort of visa he has/had because for an E2 hagwon visa the embassy wanted a bazillion copies of my sealed official transcripts and my original diploma. Granted, apparently it’s very easy to get fake copies made in places like Thailand but I wonder if the school had worked with him to mislead the parents about false credentials. Columbia is a brand name school in Korea, it would definitely have been appealing for parents to have a teacher with an advanced degree from Columbia, relative subject matter or not. 


In other news, the Times also reported about the fact that only 22% of middle school students are admitted to their first choice high school in Seoul.  I’m not talking about boarding schools, private institutions or specialty high schools; these are the average public schools available. On one hand, I understand that the theory behind this process is supposed to make schools more competitive and work harder to attract students. On the other hand I think it’s a process that inherently favors students whose family can afford hagwons, private tutors and other capital intensive application enhancers. Granted, the system in the USA is hardly better since because of local taxes, high income areas inevitably have much more money to invest in their schools than lower income brackets do. President Lee Myung-Bak has mentioned consistently throughout the past 2 years that he wants to reform education and decrease the prevalence of private supplemental education. Personally, without serious investment in the nation’s schools I don’t any changes happening. Regulating hagwon hours will not decrease the demand for them.  Smaller class sizes, increased teacher training and resources, after school programs for public schools and assorted other tools could help. 


I want to help my students learn more and get ahead but in a class with 35+ students it’s impossible to give them the attention and types of intensive lessons they need to learn English. I am constantly researching large class methodology but there is only so much one person can do. 


Random asides: 
-There is something sticky on my school mouse. Fail.
-My wrist still continues to hurt like the dickens despite the fact that it doesn’t appear to be swollen or bruised. I’d get acupuncture this afternoon only as usual, I’ve got plans for the weekend pretty much starting from when I leave work. Dinner plans, the Busan Haps magazine issue launch party, a hip hop night at  club in Kyungsang….
That is of course, assuming I don’t trip over anything else between now and the end of the day. 



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