As a kind of follow-up to the previous post, the Boston Globe has an article up, “In China, Ivy League dreams weigh heavily on students,” about some best-selling books in China that are devoted to getting your child into an Ivy League school in the U.S.  One book, Harvard Girl, has sold over 2 million copies. They report:

“Harvard Girl,” written by the parents of one of the first Chinese undergraduates to enter the university on a full scholarship, chronicled Liu Yiting’s methodical upbringing that instilled the discipline and diligence necessary for academic success. The tome has a place in many urban households with high school-age children, and new parents receive the book as a present from family and friends.

The book reports on various techniques the parents used to try to enhance their daughter’s skills and abilities:

The book . . . espoused unconventional techniques to turn out an Ivy-caliber child. Liu’s parents challenged the young girl to hold ice in her hands for as long as she could bear it to improve her endurance and made her jump rope every day for increasingly longer periods until she won a school contest.

They put toys out of her grasp when she was a baby to make her work harder for them, timed the girl’s studies to the minute as soon as she entered elementary school, and made her do school work in the noisiest part of the house to develop her ability to concentrate.

The article claims that getting your child into a prestigious U.S. university has become of sign of success for the growing number of middle-class families in China.

Harvard Magazine had a report on the book back in 2002 in which they report:

The driving force behind Harvard Girl’s immense popularity, Liu says, is her parents’ educational theories, which consciously address Chinese parents’ growing anxiety about proper family education. “Because China has changed so much in the past 20 years, a lot of things need to catch up. Family education is one of them,” she explains. “People are definitely looking to reform the education system both on a macro and a micro level.”

Time Magazine also had a reportback in 2003 titled “How Harvard Came Calling,” providing some historical background for the parents philosophies:

But the rigorous discipline and sacrifices involved in raising an overachiever are not for the faint of heart. The authors of Harvard Girl took their cues from the teachings of Carl Weter, an 18th century German priest whose advocacy of an aggressively proactive parenting approach was years ahead of its time. Weter’s theories on raising smart kids helped his son learn six languages by age 9 and earn two doctorates by 16. During her pregnancy, Weihua—whose own educational aspirations were shattered by the Cultural Revolution—read a book outlining Weter’s methods and decided to put them into action with her own baby.

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