You can watch the full documentary here on YouTube : Link
On the surface, the American education system is nothing like ours. By many measures, their public school system is a omplete failure relative to that of other developed countries. However, because there are so many problems there, there is plenty of research work done on the system to figure what went wrong. 20 years ago it was widely believed that low income children failed to get to college because of their poor family background and less educated parents. This belief led to under-investment in neighborhoods schools and a decline in the quality of education for the lower income groups. The lastest research completely dispels this common belief and shows that if children from lowest income families are put in a good education system from an early age, their chance of going to and succeeding in college is as good as children from high income families. The evidence is overwhelming as 'charter schools' like Kipp Academy scale up and spread its success throughout America.
There is one hard truth that we must not believe...and if we believe will doom us to make the same mistakes as the Americans and allow the gap in their society to spread into the education system:
"People get educated, the bright ones rise, they marry equally well-educated spouses. The result is their children are smarter than those who are gardeners. Not that all the children of gardeners are duds. Occasionally 2 grey horses produce a white horse but very few . If you have 2 white horses, the chances are you breed white horses. It's seldom spoken publicly because those who are NOT white horses say, "You're degrading me". But its a fact of life. You get a good mare, you don't want a dud stallion to breed with your good mare. You get a poor foal.
Your mental capacity and your EQ and the rest of you, 70 to 80% is genetic. "
- MM Lee, Hard Truths interview.
If the children of rich successful parents are inherently smart and have success inbuilt in them, why do rich smart families try get to their children into the best primary schools by buying property within 1 km of these schools. They know the importance of going into a good school and high quality early education. It was reported recently that some of our rich spend close to $20K-$30K a year on pre-school while poor parents don't send their children for pre-school or make do with $10 pre-school:
300 children from lower-income families get a feel of Primary One
by Kavitha Karum 05:55 AM Dec 18, 2010
Three hundred children, some of whom have never attended pre-school, graduated on Friday from a four-week course to help them prepare for Primary One next year.
The graduation ceremony for the K2-One Bridging Programme was held at Bottle Tree Park in Yishun.
Pre-school is not compulsory in Singapore, and some children, especially from lower-income families, may not get to enjoy this benefit.
Singapore's four community self-help groups have been jointly organising the programme since 2006 to help these children improve literacy, numeracy and social skills and also adjust to formal schooling. The course fee is $10. KAVITHA KARUM
The latest evidence shows that if there is any academic achievement gap between the children low and high income groups is due mainly to the difference in quality of education system especially early pre-school education. In Singapore, as the income gap grows, the difference in quality of education between children also widens to entrench the gap in our society. Until today, the PAP govt refuses to give more aid to poor parents to ensure that their children have more equal start and access to high quality pre-school education. These policy decisions are likely to have their roots in MM Lee's flawed elitist belief on genetics which is against the best evidence we have today. This elitist belief contributes to Singapore's widening social gap which is the highest in the developed world.