A lot debate has centered on what elements actually make a good school system. Several approaches highlight different factors, but a few international comparisons have brought some new factors to light, especially in South Korea, which scored very high on international comparisons. Teacher training remains high on the list. Training before ever stepping foot into a classroom is important. However, mixing new and more experienced teachers also goes a long way to distribute institutional knowledge. This is where on-going training with a variety of teachers comes into play.
Respect for teachers and thorough participation on the part of parents also heavily influenced the outcomes of students in South Korea. Parents spend money and meet with teachers regularly, but they also continue the process at home. Instead of the school day ending when the bell rings, South Korean parents hire tutors or send their children for extra academic instruction in the evening, in addition to the homework from their regular schools. Also, while technology does play a role in classrooms, most of the school administrators and teachers focused less on those tools and more on fundamental skills than their lower-performing counterparts. All food for thought for struggling school systems.