Today’s Teaching and Teachers

In Praise of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

January 24, 2011 at 11:33 am , by

Amy Chua, a law professor at Yale and hardworking mother of two teenage daughters (her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, also teaches law at Yale and writes suspense novels), has sparked a giant controversy in publishing her memoir-cum-parenting book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (The Penguin Press; $25.95; 2011). The crux of the brouhaha: Which parenting paradigm works better, the traditional American model, which proposes that parents let their children discover what they naturally excel at and then help them achieve success at it while preserving the kids’ all-important “self esteem,” or Chua’s “Asian” model, in which parents push their children to perform tasks that the parents decide are worthwhile with 110 percent of their ability to the exclusion of seemingly self-indulgent activities such as sleepovers and after-school drama clubs? Chua asserts that her Chinese parenting methods work better, and that the United States is on the road to failure because we don’t push our children hard enough, far enough, fast enough. The numbers seem to support her: According to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor, Asian-American high school graduates have the highest college enrollment rate, at 92.2 percent. Read more