Education Flattens The World

Jun 19, 2018 by

Tom Watkins has had a lifelong interest in China sparked by a great fourth grade teacher.

Tom Watkins – China has become the largest source of foreign students studying in the U.S. The education market in China for high quality education is huge.

Building educational bridges between the most important bi-lateral relationship in the world (the U.S and China) benefits both countries and all of humanity. Education is clearly one of the most influential sorters in the world today. The individual, community, state, province, and nation with the best education will prevail as the 21st century knowledge economy unfolds. Finding ways to partner to enhance education across borders is a worthwhile endeavor.

There are exciting educational partnerships taking place in China where there is a blending of the best of Chinese education and American education.

W-A-Y American School and Bright Scholar Schools (formerly, Country Garden Schools) have joined forces to add value and make a difference in the lives of Chinese high school students living in China.

When we can take the best innovative and data-driven education initiatives from China and the U.S, like W-A-Y American School and the Chinese Bright Scholar Schools, great things will happen for our youth.

This partnership, where China and U.S schools are learning from each other to enhance knowledge for children and society bodes well for all. The partnership is enhancing learning and strengthening society by recognizing the strengths of both educational systems while creating new pathways for student success

Global Education Matters

The viability of our respective societies, the strength of our economies, the quality of our lives, and our place in the world are inextricably linked to the quality of world-class education provided to our youth. This is true regardless if you are Chinese or American.

A child without a decent education today is an adult without a quality future tomorrow. The lack of a quality, world class education holds back the individual, their family, and all of society. In a fast-paced world economy, education is the pathway to continual success.

We live in an ever-shrinking world where knowledge is king. Knowledge of different languages and cultures are 21st century skills that citizens from both countries would be wise to obtain.

The entrance into U.S vs China universities take significantly different paths. While high school graduates in the U.S are judged more holistically, based on a multitude of factors— volunteerism, extracurricular activities, GPA, SAT or ACT test scores, essays, family history, diversity, potential contribution to college environment— while students in China are mostly scored on a standardized national exam, or the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, or in Mandarin, the Gāokǎo (高考). Preparing for these two different pathways to success requires a different or a blended educational roadmap.

Bright Scholar

Bright Scholar is the largest and oldest operator of international and bilingual K-12 schools in China. The education company is dedicated to providing quality international education to Chinese students and equipping them with the critical academic foundation and skill sets necessary to succeed in the pursuit of higher education overseas. It also complements its international offerings with Chinese government-mandated curriculum for students who wish to maintain the option of pursuing higher education in China.

Bright Scholar schools consist of international schools, bilingual schools, and kindergartens. They offer a broad range of internationally-accredited curricula in their international schools. Bright Scholar tailors the delivery of coursework to optimize learning outcomes for students and prepare them for higher education overseas. Their bilingual schools place a specific emphasis on developing students’ English language proficiency and non-academic skill sets, offering elective classes in sports, arts and community service programs.

W-A-Y (Widening Advancements for Youth)

W-A-Y American School is one of the most innovative schools in the U.S. W-A-Y was founded in 2009 by educational pioneers to provide a personalized, project based learning experience for all students.

W-A-Y offers an innovative approach to education utilizing state of the art technology and project-based learning in alignment with state, national, and international standards. W-A-Y facilitates learning experiences that encourage self-esteem, independence, and the development of 21st century skills guiding students to a college education and subsequent career paths. Its students have been admitted to top universities in the U.S and around the globe. W-A-Y is accredited by the top school accreditation body, AdvancEd.

The W-A-Y approach is built on three core components:

  1. Project Based Learning: Students explore authentic, engaging, and real-world problems.
  2. Competency Based Learning: Students progress by mastering learning standards in their courses.
  3. Blended & Online Learning: Students work on online, blended, and in-person courses.

East Meets West

“We are extremely pleased to work with W-A-Y American School to blend their exceptional, innovative American educational program to what we offer in China -equally as well,” said Mr. Li, the Principal of Silver Beach School part of the Bright Scholar network of schools. He continued, “We will continue to work with China’s national standard curriculum blending the

W-A-Y American School as a supplementary program to help prepare Chinese students to excel on the national and international stage.” Principal Li emphasized, “Together, we are truly better- we are excited for our teachers and students to partner with such an innovative educational program as W-A-Y American School.”

Glen Taylor, a co-founder of W-A-Y American School expressed gratitude and enthusiasm to work with the Bright Scholar team to help prepare Chinese high school students for their future. He stated, “There is a shared vision and common agenda between W-A-Y American School and Bright Scholar to enhance learning for youth in China and the U.S.” He concludes, “We look forward to learning from each other and offering world class education to Chinese students building on the Chinese national standard curriculum framework.”

By partnering, W-A-Y American School and Bright Scholar are offering a unique educational opportunity for high school students in China.

Adding Value

We live in an ever-shrinking world where knowledge is king. Knowledge of different languages and cultures are 21st century skills that enrich students on both sides of the Pacific.

Building educational bridges that brings the US and China closer together makes exponential more sense than building great walls to divide us.

With the partnership with W-A-Y American School: China, without a doubt, will continue to produce even more, “Bright Scholars.”

Tom Watkins

Advisor, Michigan-China Innovation Center

Tom Watkins has had a lifelong interest in China sparked by a great fourth grade teacher. He served as the Michigan state superintendent schools and has worked for nearly four decades to build economic, educational, and cultural ties between the U.S and China. He serves on the Michigan-China Innovation Center Advisory Board and is an adviser to the Detroit Chinese Business Association. Follow him on twitter@tdwatkins88. Email

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  1. Avatar

    Tom – great article and maybe we can move forward too! Along side with China!! My mind is constantly saying that the world should be a partnership and it begins at home! Partnership to give all kids a chance in life!

  2. Avatar
    Richard Cooper

    Fine report

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