Educational Administration

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With the introduction of market socialism, rural migrants are growing in China’s urban areas, like Bei Jing, Shang Hai and Guang Zhou. Due to frequent moves, poverty, pressures on parents, and related factors, children from these rural families are not achieving in China’s urban schools. While this problem is distinctive in many ways to the Chinese context, it also shares some “family-resembling” characteristics with the education of poor and minority students in American urban schools. In this essay, I first set forth similarities and differences between these two populations of student. Next, I indicate and analyze the leadership practices that are commonly advocated in the US context for helping these students to achieve in urban education, and finally, I discuss the some of the implication of such practices for the Chinese context. “When I return, I want to see all 28 students. Not one less.” Mr. Gao, who was temporarily leaving the only elementary school in Shuiquan village for his ailing mother, told the thirteen-year old substitute teacher Miss. Wei before he left. In the popular movie Not One Less, the famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou dramatizes the plight of schools and families in China’s rural areas. The young and inexperienced substitute teacher works in a dilapidated one-room rural schoolhouse. Heeding the words of the absent teacher, the substitute’s main goal is to prevent children from dropping out of school. The story centers around her journey to bring back a boy who left school to earn money in the city to help pay his mother’s medical expenses. “Not one less” has been China’s long-term goal in providing rural children equal access to education. After 1990s, with the introduction of market socialism, rural migrants are growing in China’s urban areas, like Bei Jing, Shang Hai and Guang Zhou. Due to poverty, frequent moves, pressures on parents, and related factors, children from these rural migrant families are not achieving in China’s urban schools. While this problem is distinctive in many ways to the Chinese context, it also shares some “family-resembling” characteristics with the education of poor and minority students in American urban schools. In this essay, I first set forth similarities and differences between these two populations of student. Next, I analyze the leadership practices that are commonly advocated in the US context for helping these students to achieve in urban education. And finally, I discuss some of the implications of such practices for the Chinese context. I Comparison of China’s rural migrant students & American poor and minority students The US public schools are becoming more and more diverse due to its increasing numbers of student sharing different ethnicities and cultures. Similarly, in apparently homogeneous Chinese major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, schools now serve growing numbers of rural migrant, ethnic minority and even international students. By the end of 2004, more than 6.4 million rural children were living in cities like Beijing with their migrant parents, according to China’s Ministry of Education. China’s rural migrant students and the poor and minority students in the US share some “family-resembling” characteristics in terms of their family background and academic achievement in both countries’ urban school systems. Both of the two groups come from economically disadvantaged families, in which the home environment could not provide substantial opportunity and support for parental activity, thus increases risks for students’ educational failure. Due to living pressures, these students frequently move with their parents, and this deprives them of stable and continuous schooling. Their low educated parents get long working hours and low wage jobs, thus fail to provide these students a home environment conducing to learning, let alone parental involvement at school in terms of facilitating regular school...
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