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Beware Chinese data: Its schools might not be so great


For much of my life, I have been obsessed with China, Jay Mathews reports for the Washington Post. A TV documentary about the Great Leap Forward caught my eye when I was 16. I studied Chinese language, government and history in college and graduate school, then spent five years as The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and Beijing. My wife, who was my Los Angeles Times competitor, and I wrote a book about the country. I love Chinese culture. I think the creative competition between China and the United States is a plus for humanity. But I learned long ago not to trust Chinese government statistics. Chinese officials these days are more enlightened and honest than the ones I dealt with, but they appear to be distorting data in ways that are harmful to educators’ efforts in China and the United States to learn from each other…

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