Professor emeritus pens new book: ‘Why Korean Education is Leaving America in the DUST’

During his 44-year education career, William Hedges, a retired professor emeritus at UF’s College of Education, alternated public school teaching with university teaching in order to “stay in the real world.” A former Fulbright Scholar, he didn’t like what he saw as he observed how America had fallen behind other nations in the education of its young people. In his words, “the widespread ignorance of the American people is alarming.”

Hedges recently published a book, “Why Korean Education is Leaving America in the DUST,” to show just what the American public elementary school of the 21st century must become if the U.S. is to continue as a leader in the free world.

Always outspoken on matters of education and politics, Hedges is critical of the teacher unions, the short teaching day and teaching year in the U.S. compared with other nations, and the treatment of education by American lawmakers as a political football.

He doesn’t merely point out obvious problems, though. With the progressive South Korean education system as a model, he offers a blueprint of 33 specific recommendations for improving our schools. Hedges spent three years working directly with Korean teachers in their schools and has studied their education system continuously for many more years.

Just one startling comparison Hedges points out: Over one-third of American students never finish high school; over 93 percent of Korean students complete high school.

Bill Hedges

Hedges, 87, who spent the final 20 years of his academic career at UF until his retirement in 1991, puts his money where his mouth is. He and his wife, Robbie, have donated nearly $2 million to UF’s College of Education in a charitable remainder trust to support research to help marginal K-12 learners.

“Why Korean Education…” is published by Xlibris Corp., one of the pioneering print-on-demand, self-publishing companies, and is available on Amazon.com.

Earlier this year, Hedges published his autobiography titled “From Life in the Hamptons to a Life of Poverty in Arkansas,” also published by Xlibris.


: William D. Hedges, professor emeritus and supporter, UF College of Education, wmdhedges@yahoo.com

Larry Lansford, Director, COE News & Communications, llansford@coe.ufl.edu; 352-273-4137