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Professor Yong Zhao On How To Educate Globally Competitive Students

Editor’s note: This show will be broadcast on OPB Radio and simulcast on KLCC.

UO Professor Yong Zhao (via University of Oregon College of Education Facebook)

UO Professor Yong Zhao (via University of Oregon College of Education Facebook)

“If you judge a fish on how well he can climb a tree, you’re going to have a stupid fish.”

This is how University of Oregon professor Yong Zhao explains his views on testing students. He thinks that public schools in Oregon are testing the wrong things and that new Common Core standards take schools in the wrong direction. Zhao says what schools should be focused on is creativity and innovation and on a curriculum that encourages entrepreneurship, broadly defined.

Right now, he contends, students are rewarded for learning how to take tests, which he says does not prepare them for the global job market. We’ll talk with him about that and about his vision for public education and whether he thinks it’s possible for schools to change course and focus on creativity. His latest book, World Class Learners, deals in large part with this very question.

Are your kids learning creativity or innovation in public schools? Did you learn those things in school? Are you a teacher? What’s your take on Zhao’s critique of public schools?


  • Yong Zhao: Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education at the University of Oregon and professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy and Leadership



k-12 Education global competitiveness common core University of Oregon

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