Li Yue, Contributing Writer

Autumn is coming and most Chinese parents are struggling to send their children to middle school. Some of them have found a good and trustworthy school, some of them just accept the truth that they will send their children to an ordinary school with the implementation of School Distribution Policy. Some Chinese parents gained acceptable benefits from it but some of them still struggle.

Recently, China started a boom of sending children to middle school. According to the School Distribution Policy, children can be sent to the middle schools attached to their community without taking any exam. However, they will be required to take extra exam for schools out of their community.

Xu Feixia, a mother of a 12-year-old girl, was anxious about finding a good middle school for her daughter. As the policy goes, her daughter Xie Xiaoyuan should be sent to a school attached to her community. However, this school is not a well-qualified middle school.

“I decided to persuade her to take entrance examination of other better schools.” Xu said.

According to the policy, only when pupils take an extra entrance exam, can they be enrolled by schools out of their communities. Therefore, these students always sacrifice a bunch of leisure time to go to cram schools, which are managed by part-time middle school teachers or education corporation groups to help students finish their homework and train them to take exams. Usually, this kind of school will cost a huge amount of money, much more than the tuition at normal schools. The cram schools also claim that they can ensure children will enrolled into their dream schools. The more the schools are paid, the better teachers they will have and the higher the probability their students will be enrolled into their targeted schools. However, no one has made a serious investigation of such probability, but everyone seems convinced.

Take a look at Xie’s schedule, no leisure time will be found except during mealtimes and bedtime.

“If you want more, you pay more.” Xu said confidently, “My daughter will thank me after she’s accepted by good schools.”

Nevertheless, Xie held a negative view, “I don’t think I can go to that school. But my mom paid a lot of money for the cram school. I don’t want to make her upset so I decided to go to these classes.”

Before Xie went to cram school, she had a whole Saturday and half of Sunday to play around. The other half of her Sunday was spent on her interest-oriented class, a fine arts course.

“The entrance examination doesn’t include fine art, which means she doesn’t need to spend time on it,” Xu insisted her evaluation.

The situation faced by Xu’s family is not unique. Every year when a middle school recruits students, thousands of families in China have to accept the distributed school or consider fighting for better. Some lucky families can relocate to downtown,  where well-qualified schools are usually located at and they don’t have to have to be concerned about issues about sending their children to a better schools. Some families who are near the unacceptable schools start to struggle.

Zhang Yuchun, a manager of the department for recruiting students in a Kunming, China middle school, said, “This policy is somewhat rational at present. The education source in Kunming is distinctly disparate, so if we don’t implement this policy, it will lead to the overload of distinguished schools, and it will become a situation that good schools are becoming better, bad schools are becoming worse, which enforce the unbalanced situation.” Zhang added, “However, I think the big winner in this policy is the rich. Because they have enough money to buy a new house near the good schools or spend more money on their children’s education.”

When asked about the suggestion for this policy, Xu and Zhang said they are standing at the same front line. According to the two, the government should invest more in education like improving education facilities, increasing faculties and expanding the scale of better education.

Autumn is passing by, Xie is getting closer to the next chapter of her life. No one knows where she’s going, but she knows she’s fought for it and that is one thing even the best schools can’t teach you.