A mother of a three has suddenly become the most hated woman in the country right now after expressing her (small-minded) opinion about school students who may not do well academically.
The Straits Times published a feature yesterday about how local parents are concerned that Singapore will no longer practice the streaming system in secondary schools. Currently, the system places students in different education tracks according to their PSLE results — those in the “Express” stream only need to take four years of schooling to take the GCE “O” Level exams, while those in the “Normal” streams will take slightly longer to do so if they are able to meet the academic requirements.
Come 2024, Singapore will do away with streams, and will instead introduce subject-based banding, where students will be able to take up subjects at higher or lower levels, depending on their ability and strengths. It’s a welcome change, given that it will group students together in different ways instead of grouping them according to purely academic abilities — on top of doing away with self-limiting mindsets and stigma that comes when labeled in the supposedly “slower” streams.
Despite the positive prospect of having students mingle and socialize with peers who may not be as privileged, some parents are not okay with their children mixing with anyone outside their streams. The Straits Times managed to get hold of one such parent, who said that she would rather not have her kids have anything to do with those in the “Normal” stream — a category which she seems to consider as inferior.
“It’s because of their upbringing — their mindset and values may not be in tandem with what I agree with,” said 48-year-old housewife Wendy Chan. “It’s not so much about academic performance.”
The report did not manage to clarify further on what she meant by her rather bold statement.
‘As a society we are better than this’
Mark Rozells — a parent and lecturer with a wealth of experience teaching in various local schools and colleges — did not like Chan’s statement one bit. In a Facebook post, he railed against her prejudiced sentiments and affirmed that all students deserve respect regardless of academic ability.
“Every student, regardless of stream, has their strengths and challenges, both personal and from their families. I’ve seen hardworking, resilient students in Normal stream and lazy, entitled students in (Integrated Programme) and Express streams,” he wrote.
Rozells took issue with how prejudice is a rot that should be cleaned up in Singapore.
“Prejudice takes time. It takes root with policies, grows with administrative practices and becomes so intertwined with the very ethos of society that we forget/ignore it. We manufacture all sorts of fiction to excuse it, to justify it.”
“And just once in a while, the mask slips. And a Wendy Chan appears, showing us the face that is our own, because we too hold those prejudices or we do nothing to challenge them.”
Most importantly, he hoped that Chan’s children will turn out to be better individuals than her.
“I hope one day you will realize just how selfish, small-minded and poisonous your statements are, and I hope your children will be better than you, in spite of you,” he wrote.
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