Historically speaking, China is a society that holds learning and education in high esteem. It's hardly alone in that respect. The emphasis on learning in the Chinese Confucian tradition are comparable to the learning-focused philosophies of Aristotle and  Socrates, which are underpinnings of western culture.

China, it's also worth noting, is a key U.S. trading partner and a rapidly rising economic and military power, making knowledge of modern China a key intellectual commodity in the coming years.

From a broad perspective, therefore, an argument can be made that sending Harford County's superintendent of schools and three high school principals to the People's Republic of China has some merit.

Though the trip is expected to cost the local school system $900 (not including salaries of the folks being sent overseas during the academic year), it seems like something of a waste of time and money from a more practical perspective.


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Certainly, there are big picture issues that recommend a level of cultural exchange between the U.S. government and that of the People's Republic of China, but is this the job local principals and administrators are paid to do?

With all due respect to the folks honored by being invited to visit China, their students would probably be better off with them staying in Harford County and focusing on more efficiently running our schools.

The bottom line is that a trip to China that costs the school system a relatively small amount of money may not raise many eyebrows because of its low cost, but the same arguments that recommend a trip to the People's Republic could also recommend a trip to Greece, Canada, Japan or just about any other country with a school system.