Why On Earth?

Maybe it's just me but last week when I read the News Herald story, Trip to China an ‘eye-opening’ experience for school officials by Jeremy Nash. The question in my mind was, why?

Why on earth would American educators be going to China to learn anything? No blame to the local educators who made the trip, I'm sure it was a once in a lifetime opportunity but China?

Do those who organized such a trip realize that China is a communist country? The biggest communist country? Short of learning how to be a communist, I don't know what else you would go there for. 

Here's a couple of interesting China facts.

Presuming a 40-hour work week and 50 weeks per year,  an average manufacturing wage of $3.50 per hour—roughly half of the U.S. minimum wage of $7.25. Average annual per capita income in China is about $7,000. I know Obama is working hard to get us there but at least we're not there yet. And given that this was an education trip, I'm just curious if the tour included any of the child labor camps that are run by the schools.

From a recent government report.

The children are usually between the age of 5 and 17. They have to work in extreme conditions for long hours. They have to work under risky circumstances. Their families are poor so they are willing to work to earn some money. Because their family needs that extra source of income. In China, they have a law that does not allow children under the age of 16 to work. But the government  says under special circumstances, these children will be able to work. The gov. calls it "Educational Labor." Basically schools would have their students do some work like growing and harvesting crops. But the problem is that most schools abuse this law and they end up forcing the children to do a lot of heavy labor.Here is an example: a headmaster of a school employed students from his school to work in his private toy factory. When he was caught, he said he was just giving these kids an opportunity to earn money. Another example: In Sichuan, 500 children were found working 14 hour shifts in a factory. Their school employed them to work during the summer. The living conditions were poor. They did not give the children enough food to eat or enough water.

I'm sorry, but visiting China to learn how to educate children seems to me like one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of. Use to be that local educators would fly down to visit schools in Orlando, home of Disney World, but at least it was American schools. If we are going to educate children about China, we should be educating them about how dangerous China is and just how big a threat China is to our country. But, that's just me.