Sinapore leads the world in science, math and reading but is it the right approach? What should a good educaiton focus on? How do you know you've succeeded? How much emphasis should be put on testing? Is streaming the best approach? Is differentiation in the classroom good or bad?
I've been a teacher in Alberta, Canada for just over 13 years (grades 5-9 mainly math/science) and I've had some experience with streaming as well as differentiated classrooms. My experience in the classroom has shown me that streaming seems to work very well for those at the top of the stream but works poorly for those at the bottom. A classroom with many academically challenged students often is a classroom with many complex behavioural problems that often interfere with learning. In addition to that I've found that there is a dearth of good examples for students to learn from one another. When you have so few kids with the social and experience capital there just don't seem to be enough things students can draw on to learn from. While it can be helpful to have students of similar abilities to give a lesson to, these students often can't focus or follow a long lesson anyhow. Furthermore these students with cognitive and learning challenges require more teacher or teacher assistant time.
Students of all abilities don't learn to work with and respect other students with different interests and abilities. Some high achieving students also lose their confidence when they go from classes where they are a high achiever to classes where everyone of their peers is of similar abilities. It's nice to have students work together to help each other learn and this happens best within a diverse classroom.
So how much diversity is optimal? How successful is differentiation? How challenging is it to teach differentiation? Should we stream like Singapore does? What do we value in a citizen? Do you think Singapore will actually change anytime soon? Are you happy with the education system in your area? How much of a factor socio economic status to the success of students in different systems? So many questions.