"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Links - 24th April 2019 (1) (Schools and Elitism)

Netizens flame biased housewife who “would prefer if her children did not mix with those in the Normal stream” - "A housewife who told the Straits Times that she “would prefer if her children did not mix with those in the Normal stream” has drawn intense flak online.Last week, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung announced in Parliament that streaming in secondary schools will be scrapped and replaced with subject-based banding (SBB) by 2024. Besides this, the Government will also combine the O-Level and N-Level examinations into one common national examination... “Housewife Wendy Chan, who has a Secondary 2 daughter in an all-Express school, and sons in Primary 5 and Primary 6, said she would prefer if her children did not mix with those in the Normal stream.“Ms Chan, 48, explained: “It’s because of their upbringing – their mindset and values may not be in tandem with what I agree with. It’s not so much about their academic performance.””"
Of course, she got slammed by a lot of people

YouthReach: Statistics of youth in Singapore (National Youth Council) - "In a large-scale study conducted by Fei Yue Counselling Centre in October 2002, which involved surveying students from nine secondary schools in the northeast region (N=5773), they found that the most prevalent delinquent act is damaging school properties, followed by getting into public facilities without paying, truancy, and purposely hurting or beating up someone... In terms of academic stream, delinquent acts are more prevalent among students in the Normal Technical (NT) stream. NT students have the highest commission rate of 25 out of the 30 delinquent acts listed.Delinquent acts are more prevalent among students whose parents are separated or divorced, Higher proportions of delinquent acts are also found among students from both ends of the income spectrum, that is, those from low-income families as well as from well-to-do families... Approximately 30% of the students have friends who were having sex"

Twitter brings positive change - Youth.SG - "CARE reaches out to at-risk, disadvantaged, and underachieving secondary students who are predominantly from the lower socioeconomic strata. According to CARE, MOE statistics show that 90 per cent of secondary school dropouts are from the Normal (Academic) and Normal (Technical) streams, and over half of teen offenders in Singapore are school dropouts. These students are academically weak, have low self-esteem and general life-skills, and lack motivation."

Singapore Yout hResilience Survey: Examining the stressors, risks and resilience of Young People - "a) Express students, in comparison to Normal Technical and Normal Academic students, were more likely to:
i) Involve themselves in activities (either in school or out)
ii) Find it easier to fit in with others
iii) Often spend time with family
iv) Turn to family when in trouble
v) Indicate that their friends support them
vi) Indicate that people at their school generally like them
b) Express students, in comparison to Normal Academic students, were more likely to indicate that they respect the elders in their lives...
Malay and Indians were found to express a higher level of Belonging, as compared to the Chinese and Others.
Malay and Indians were more likely than Chinese and
Others to:
i) Have enough friends
ii) Involved themselves in activities (in school and out)
iii) Find it easier to fit in with others
iv) Often spend time with family
v) Feel that they are an important part of Singapore
vi) Enjoy going to school
Respondents who subscribed to Islam and Hindu religions were more likely than those who subscribed to Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and other religions to:
i) Feel that they are an important part of Singapore
ii) Enjoy going to school...
Express respondents, as compared to Normal Academic respondents, were more likely to:
i) Think things through before acting
ii) Be pretty good at their school work ...
Normal Technical respondents were more likely to beconfident that they could be successful ascompared to Express stream respondents.
Express respondents, as compared to Normal Academic respondents, were more likely to:
i) Have people trust them to do the right thing
ii) Be in charge of their own behaviour
iii) Stay away from people who make trouble...
Females, as compared to males, were more likely to respond positively across all indicators of sense of generosity, with the exception of “playing fairly” and “finding it fairly easy to forgive others if someone does something wrong”...
Chinese and Malay respondents were more likely to feel safe at home, as compared to Indianrespondents...
Normal Academic respondents were more likely as compared to Express respondents, to try all 9 listed at risk activities. They were also more likely than Normal Technical respondents to try drinking alcohol.
Normal Technical respondents, were more likely:
i) As compared to Normal academic and Express respondents to try smoking cigarettes
ii) As compared to Express respondents to try fighting, stealing and joining a gang.
Express respondent were more likely than Normal academic respondents to try none of the listed at risk activities...
Respondents who were not in a relationship, as compared to respondents that were dating one person, dating multiple people, and in a committed
relationship, were more likely to try none of the above listed at-risk activities... Respondents who were dating multiple people, as compared to respondents who were dating oneperson, were more likely to try sex...
Those in lower band schools tended to try a higher total number of at risk activities than those in upper band schools.
Those in Normal Academic and Normal Technical tended to try a higher total number of at risk activities than those in Express streams .. Males tended to try a higher total number of at risk activities than females"
Chinese privilege means being marginalised, having few frends and not feeling like you're an important part of your country
"If my friends ask, I would try... Having Sex" - interesting phrasing


Psychological, Peer, and Family Influences on Smoking Among an Adolescent Psychiatric Sample - "Empirical data also identifies peers as one of the most significant factors associated with adolescent smoking (Kobus, 2003). The influence of peer smoking is multi-faceted. Both the number of peers who smoke and peer approval of smoking are positively related to smoking initiation in teens (Mayhew, Flay, & Mott, 2000). In a study of 4,263 eighth-grade students, teens with one tobacco-using friend were 2.73 times more likely to smoke, while teens with two or more tobacco-using friends were 9.46 times more likely to smoke than teens who were not friends with smokers (Simons-Morton & Farhat, 2010). Additionally, peer group socialization and selection of friends have both been related to smoking among teenagers (Ennett & Bauman, 1994; Go, Green, Kennedy, Pollard, & Tucker, 2010; Hoffman, Monge, Chou, & Valente, 2007). For example, teen smokers tend to associate with other smokers, while nonsmokers tend to affiliate with other non-smokers (Kobus, 2003)"

More children 'being taught in mixed ability classrooms' - "having large numbers of low-achieving pupils in each lesson had a “negative impact” on academic results among the brightest children... critics warned that many schools were failing to place children into ability bands because of “ideological” opposition to the system by teachers... a study published by the Royal Economic Society showed that a higher proportion of “low-achieving pupils” in each class had a “negative and significant effect on the academic achievements of regular pupils” because they monopolised teachers’ attention."
Aka why some form of streaming/banding is good

''Peer Effects'' at School: The Disruptive Impact of Low-Achieving Pupils - "Their study compares school classes in Israel with different proportions of ''repeaters'' – pupils who are repeating a year''s education because of previous underachievement. It finds that classes with more repeaters experience a relative deterioration in teachers'' pedagogical practices and in the relationships between teachers and pupils. A higher proportion of repeaters in a class also increases the level of violence and classroom disruptions – and it has a negative and significant effect on the academic achievements of regular pupils. The negative effect of repeaters is larger on pupils with more disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and lower academic achievement... the variation in the fraction of repeaters in one''s classroom, across different cohorts of pupils attending the same school, can be thought of as random. Some schools have more repeating pupils than others. But whether there happen to be two or three repeaters in this year''s 10th grade as opposed to next year''s 10th grade in the same school is determined largely by chance. This ''natural experiment'' lends credibility to the causal interpretation of the research findings... relative to regular pupils, repeaters report that teachers are better in the individual treatment of pupils and in the instilment of capacity for individual study. They also report a better relationship with their teachers... one of the main channels through which low-achieving pupils negatively affect their peers is by diverting teachers'' attention from regular to struggling pupils"
Ironically it's poor and/or academically less able students who are more hurt by putting students of different academic ability in the same class
This suggests that when the 'hero teacher' narrative is real (i.e. the teachers make an effort to reach out to the trouble students), it actually means that other students are hurt


Parents pay £52,000 more to live in areas with outstanding schools, new survey reveals - "Graham Brady, chair of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee, said the research underscored the case for new grammar schools, which he argued would ease pressure on existing schools and provide fairer choice for parents unable to relocate.“There is nothing fair about allocating school places according to the ability of parents to buy a house in the catchment area,” he told The Telegraph.“Allocating places by ability and aptitude is more likely to ensure the right school place for every child. That is why the government is right to allow more grammar schools and to improve technical education too.”His comments echo those made by the Education Secretary Justine Greening, who has called for the introduction of new grammar schools in order to provide more pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds with a first-rate education.Writing in The Telegraph last month, Ms Greening said that growing competition in the property market was “fuelling concern” among parents, with “less wealthy” families denied access to schools that were open to their wealthier counterparts.With the Department for Education’s consultation on Schools that work for everyone now complete, Ms Greening argues that the introduction of new grammars will help eliminate the attainment gap, and ensure that deprived children across the country have access to a good school place."
Ironically, banning selective school entry is worse for poor people since they don't have the money to pay a premium for houses near good schools
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