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No, tokenadult believes the factor lives within the school system, and I'm arguing it does not (by pointing out that different school systems get the same result).

I made no argument as to whether that factor is genetics, tiger mothers, Kumon, etc.

But you don't need to make that argument. If the school system does not perform some trick that is able to obviate a purported genetic bonus, there is a school system factor that's holding back students that don't have this hypothetical genetic or tiger mother bonus.

If you don't give a wheelchair to someone who can't walk, of course they can't get around...

If schools in Singapore don't perform that trick (or if the trick doesn't exist), then Singapore schools are no better than US schools.

Since Singaporean schools have a student body that is roughly 100% Asian, we have no data on whether or not they perform that trick.

Singapore is by no means a homogeneous country. There a re four separate historical groups (Malays, Tamils, Chinese and Europeans) with various subcultures within those groups (you can still find speakers of Chinese dialects in Singapore that you would struggle to find in China). There is also significant recent migration from pretty much everywhere else on the planet to Singapore. Asia isn't one block race where everyone is the same. Please, do some research before you go waving around random statements as fact.

I didn't claim Singapore was homogeneous, I claimed it was predominantly Asian. According to wikipedia, non-Asian groups make up no more than 3.3% of Singapore.


If the tests tend to emphasize memorization (either literally or memorization-of-algorithms), wouldn't that culturally put east asians at an advantage, and intelligent executives who manage a 3 billion dollar budget but are 20 years out of school like the author at a disadvantage?

Are we failing able-bodied people by not giving them wheelchairs and handicapped parking spaces?

A different straw argument - we don't send dogs to preschool, we send them to obedience school, because we recognize certain things need to be different to achieve the same goal - not biting or urinating on everything.

edit: I'm realizing this might just be about effort/actions vs. results. I'm decidedly on the side that results are what we need to compare.

I don't think it's fair to blame a school system for failing to educate the children of a single mother on welfare as well as those with PHD's from Harvard. And I am not suggesting that it's genetic. If you took identical twins and adopted one into each of those family's I would expect to see a similar performance gap.

The US has some 'great' public schools, and some 'terrible' ones. But, the difference has a lot more to do with the students than people are comfortable admitting. The private / public gap in education is also a lot less than you might expect.

I agree, I don't think school systems deserve the blame. They're shouldering what might be considered an unrealistic burden, but this is a potentially major way to improve performance - by recognizing the differences that lie within students and getting 'single-mother-on-welfare' to perform as well as 'book mcbook III'.

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