The difference in the way teachers are treated overseas is striking, Tom Bloch says.
Question: Would you endorse a particular overseas model?
Tom Bloch: I don’t know if there is one system in particular. I think, if you look at Japan and even China and India, there are just some amazing things going on. And one of the things I think you find in countries like that is that teachers are so highly valued. I remember meeting a woman in Kansas City, who is a professor of education, and she has a scar on her calf, and she asked me one day, she said, “You know how I got that scar?”
I said, “No.”
She said, well, when she was a girl, a schoolgirl in Nigeria, she was outside and she encountered one of her teachers walking on the sidewalk, and she said, “In Nigeria, it’s customary that a student would bow to a teacher,” and she said, “there was thorn bush right behind me and I got my calf stuck on a thorn.” And I thought, “My gosh, sometimes I can walk down the halls of my school and never to get a student to even say ‘Good morning’ back when I greet them.” So there’s a real difference in the way we respect teachers in this country.
Question: Will the rest of the world outperform us in higher ed?
Tom Bloch: I just read something lately that would suggest that down the road, other developed countries are going to become fierce competitors in the post-secondary market. And so, instead of sending their best and brightest to the United States for college, maybe someday the best and brightest from the United States will be going abroad to other institutions in other countries. So I think, while it may appear we have a stranglehold on this university market, I think that could well change in the decades ahead.
Recorded on: October 13, 2008