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Local Lawmakers Look For Foreign Education Models That May Help Philadelphia’s Schools

(Kai-Ming Cheng, a professor of education at the University of Hong Kong, discusses education practices in some Asian countries with members of Philadelphia City Council via Skype.  Image from City of Phila. TV)

(Kai-Ming Cheng, a professor of education at the University of Hong Kong, discusses education practices in some Asian countries with members of Philadelphia City Council via Skype. Image from City of Phila. TV)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Amid the financial meltdown of the Philadelphia School District (see related stories), City Council today is taking a look at how others countries better educate their students, often with less public funding.

The hearing was called by at-large councilman David Oh, who says that simply throwing more money at the School District is not enough.  He believes other countries teach their children better, and that Philadelphia can learn from them.

“There are many other countries around the world that have surpassed the United States in the area of education reform,” Oh said today.  “All we have to do is examine what other folks have done that are successful, and then take a look at what we can do.”

The hearing featured experts speaking on the educational systems in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Finland and elsewhere.

Oh says one key point is that in some countries private industry readily foots the bill for vocational training.

“In Germany, for the $40 billion that the government has spent (on vocational education), $31 billion has come from private industry, because they are educating their own workforce.  And we don’t have that kind of participation here.  In fact we have the opposite.  We have a workforce that people don’t want to hire,” Oh said.

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