[Update: As per Jim’s request, here’s a page at the E. G. West Centre that has lots of info and links regarding the “Chinese education industry”. I just located it and don’t know which of the research articles the TCS article is referring to, but there appears to be plenty to choose from.]
Fascinating article here about the quality and availability of private schooling in one of the unlikliest places on earth: Gansu province in China. Evidently, although the Chinese government under-reports the number of private schools — or even denies their existence — they are still there, parents are using them despite a mean family income of less than $400 per year (!), and they are producing better results than the state-run schools:
We tested 2,640 students in a stratified random sample of 110 private and 110 public rural schools, in Chinese and Mathematics. The results illustrate that, in both mathematics and Chinese, student academic achievement was higher in the for-profit private schools than in public schools. We also found that students in the proprietor-managed private schools had significantly lower IQ scores going in than students in public schools, which makes the accomplishment all the more impressive.
The author points out that private schooling is an untapped market ready to explode in China — another aspect of an already-booming economy.
From my own experience traveling in China, I know that the Chinese people have a much better handle on the everyday elements of capitalism than most Americans. Apply this know-how, and the increasing lenience of the government toward free-market enterprise in general, to education and I think the results might be well worth watching. China is going to be a very interesting place to watch over then next decade. Can we in America learn from them?