Parentocracy?

General comments and chit-chat, or tell us how we can improve KiasuParents.com

Parentocracy?

Postby pirate » Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:50 pm

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/beware-growing-parentocracy-nie-don-20140330

I don't know about the other parents, but this piece kind of left me speechless for a while.
Parents will play an increasingly vital role as the education system becomes more complex, but a side effect is that their varied backgrounds and means may widen social inequality, a National Institute of Education don said yesterday.

"It seems to me that instead of having a meritocracy, increasingly what we have in Singapore is a parentocracy," Associate Professor Jason Tan said at an Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) seminar on education.

At first glance, it looks like he has a point. But I cannot help having this feeling in the pits of my guts that there was something wrong with it.
Youngsters also get an edge when parents can tap a strong social network and devise strategies such as polishing extra-curricular talents and preparing impressive portfolios for their children.

So, instead of merit and a child's hard work, parents and the social capital they command now wield greater influence over their offspring's future, he pointed out.

This part is even more beguiling. It took me a long time to put a finger on what I feel is wrong with it. I find it difficult to articulate, but I try:

It is not the fault of parents to want to do what they can to improve their offspring's future. Heck, as far as I am concerned, it is my freakin' PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY to do it.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for levelling the playing field for children from less privileged families. However, this should never be at the expense of parental responsibility.

If a child's own hard work and ability is going to be the sole determinant of the outcome, then what are we parents - chop suey? Do we really want a society where the input of parents play no part in determining the outcome of a child's development?

If that is so, then instead of making sure dd does her homework, understands her schoolwork and practises her piano, maybe I should just watch TV and surf the internet the whole evening, or go out to the pub. Heck, I should just sell the piano and swap it for the latest 72 inch LED flat screen TV and use the change for an overseas holiday.

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but to me, that is just plain stupid.

Here's a radical idea. How about we parents just accept the simple truth that what we do or do not do will have a direct impact on our children's welfare and children?

As for how the state should help children with less achieve more, that's for MOE to solve. Just stop insinuating that we are somehow giving our children unfair advantages, because it is our parental job to give our children all the advantages we can.

pirate
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 3926
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:09 pm
Total Likes: 163


Re: Parentocracy?

Postby Nebbermind » Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:23 pm

At a glance at what you have quoted, it looks like he said it a matter of factly. Will have read later.

Nebbermind
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 14662
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:40 am
Total Likes: 148


Re: Parentocracy?

Postby iRabbit » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:01 pm

Pirate,

Are you one of those parents who caused this great chasm bcos you helped your children gained a upper hand academically, by reading books to them when they were young? :spank:

iRabbit
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:21 pm
Total Likes: 119


Re: Parentocracy?

Postby ammonite » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:54 pm

AP Tan is not saying anything new. This phenomenon has already been observed in other countries. He is just describing it for a local audience. I wonder if he actually used the word "beware" or if it is just bad headlines. "beware" vs "be aware of" is very different...

ammonite
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 2222
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:13 am
Total Likes: 64


Re: Parentocracy?

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:38 pm

I read the article this morning too, and I had mulled over same questions posed by pirate. After a 2 decades of encouraging parents to be more involved in their children's education, I wondered if MOE is having a rethink about that strategy and moving back to a more "just leave it to educators to do the teaching" approach just reduce the perceived "social inequality". Now it appears that even parents are being blamed for increasing social inequality.

The fact is, most parents are just reacting to whatever hoops that education authorities are putting in front us to do what is best for our children. New PSLE English format? More tuition. DSA? More enrichment and training. GEP? More training.

We are a meritocracy for goodness' sake, not a socialist society. At least the best rewards are reserved for those who have put in the hardwork to achieve those grades, and not merely because their parents are so-and-so. Even if parents have the means and are mean (or stupid) enough to put their kids through an unsustainable ton of enrichment and tuition classes, there is no guarantee their kids can make the grade. Yes, kids who do not have additional tuition or supportive parents may be disadvantaged, but should we then make it socially unacceptable for all parents to help their kids? Is it criminal if a parent wants to spend $5000 per month on enrichment and tuition for their children, or moves house just so they are next to what they think is the best school for their kids?

By all means, the government should provide children from less well-off families with greater access to one-on-one tuition or even enrichment to help reduce the gaps. But to claim that "parentocracy" is leading to social inequality is the same as saying the CTE to AMK is congested because too many people wants to go home at 6pm at night. The fact is, there are only so many ways for people to get home to AMK and of course people would prefer the fastest possible way. Those that can afford to pay will pay ERP for a better quality of life. Those who prefer to not to pay will have to adapt their lifestyle accordingly with going home later, or taking longer routes. If more reasonably suitable alternative routes are provided by authorities, less congestion will occur on CTE. And that, to me, is the best solution to the problem, assuming that the problem is significant enough to warrant such an investment.

ChiefKiasu
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15221
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:16 am
Location: Singapore
Total Likes: 319



Re: Parentocracy?

Postby starlight1968sg » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:42 pm

I didnt read the details. To me, the following quote is quite true and real.
"So, instead of merit and a child's hard work, parents and the social capital they command now wield greater influence over their offspring's future, he pointed out."

starlight1968sg
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 10128
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:43 am
Total Likes: 23


Re: Parentocracy?

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:47 pm

starlight1968sg wrote:I didnt read the details. To me, the following quote is quite true and real.
"So, instead of merit and a child's hard work, parents and the social capital they command now wield greater influence over their offspring's future, he pointed out."


But that statement has always been true. 孟母三遷 (Mencius) already tells us how much impact parenting has on kids, not in contemporary Singapore, but thousands of years ago in China. What's different between then and now?

ChiefKiasu
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15221
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:16 am
Location: Singapore
Total Likes: 319


Re: Parentocracy?

Postby pirate » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:06 pm

starlight1968sg wrote:I didnt read the details. To me, the following quote is quite true and real.
"So, instead of merit and a child's hard work, parents and the social capital they command now wield greater influence over their offspring's future, he pointed out."

That quote is what bugs me. In the context of the education system, this is beguiling but simply wrong, and in more ways than one.

By saying "instead of merit and a child's hard work, parents and the social capital they command now wield greater influence over their offspring's future", we negate the merits and hard work of a child whose parents happen to have social capital.

Furthermore, how is it any different from the past that children with parents who had social capital will enjoy an advantage over other children? Or have some of our generation forgotten or taken for granted the hard work and sacrifice put in by our own parents to give us that advantage?

pirate
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 3926
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:09 pm
Total Likes: 163


Re: Parentocracy?

Postby starlight1968sg » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:17 pm

Perhaps the speaker is merely bringing something that is happening to the surface? This is akin to undercurrent of "fear" ?

starlight1968sg
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 10128
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:43 am
Total Likes: 23


Re: Parentocracy?

Postby Nebbermind » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:43 pm

pirate wrote:
starlight1968sg wrote:I didnt read the details. To me, the following quote is quite true and real.
"So, instead of merit and a child's hard work, parents and the social capital they command now wield greater influence over their offspring's future, he pointed out."

That quote is what bugs me. In the context of the education system, this is beguiling but simply wrong, and in more ways than one.

By saying "instead of merit and a child's hard work, parents and the social capital they command now wield greater influence over their offspring's future", we negate the merits and hard work of a child whose parents happen to have social capital.

Furthermore, how is it any different from the past that children with parents who had social capital will enjoy an advantage over other children? Or have some of our generation forgotten or taken for granted the hard work and sacrifice put in by our own parents to give us that advantage?


I thought the ’warning’ was directed at that community, ie, the parents need to ’invest’ more on their kids academically coz when compared to the other ethnic groups, they are still lagging behind.

Nebbermind
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 14662
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:40 am
Total Likes: 148


Next

Return to Recess Time