Sunday, October 02, 2011

Education & Pies

Before this dinner date and movies, we had to do a little bit of reading on the titles. (For example, on an article such as The Atlantic Magazine's comments, and other papers/case studies we're privy to.) It's a topic that we're interested in, some groaning at having to re-visit childhood nightmares through putting their children through school, and the rest grimacing at what children have to go through nowadays.

We scanned through substantial information on the American education system in a bid for some sort of enlightened comparison to ours in order to be able to make a good critique of director and co-writer Davis Guggenheim's'Waiting for Superman'.  While we're familiar with the college system, we aren't so sure of the issue of funding, curriculum and syllabus prior to that, and teachers' compensation, in state-certified private schools, public schools and popular home-school programs.  (Read the New Yorker's review of the movie here.) 

Through the stories of the families and children, the docu-film criticizes the failings of the American school system. Admittedly, some of those stories bear striking resemblances to the school system we went through. Would you say meritocracy works just a tad better here than the perceived notion in the US? Don't forget that we've a much smaller scale to deal with. The film raises many questions and offers no possible answers. Not that it's the film's job to do so.

Not going in depth about what we discussed. Suffice to say, each of us had an opinion and mighty differing ones too. It's about education, a system and curriculum that Singapore can be proud of in many ways, yet still lambast, commiserate and comment on. The matter of being academically proficient and efficient versus a well-rounded education for students in the Singapore system has always been in the spotlight. Increasingly, the load of the teachers and their role versus parents' (and society) expectations have been at the forefront of social debate, often making newspaper headlines.

Between the various points put forth in the discussion, food wasn't neglected. We had suggested catering, but the hosts were insistent on cooking, declaring it as no sweat. Pie time, they said! What a breathtaking spread they laid out for the guests. The hosts are fantastic cooks, and of course we aren't about to protest at being fed good food.

Cute little individual potpies of lentils, mushrooms and artichoke hearts :: pies of cornbread and beef skillet :: asparagus tart gruyère :: empanadas in 2 different fillings of spicy turkey and cheese, and spicy pumpkin, potato and onions :: an easy dessert of raspberry rhubarb biscuit cobblers ::


notabilia said...

Waiting for Superman is a deeply flawed film. I hope that the film wasn't the only reference point in your discussion. Invite me over next time you talk about education in the US. I'll give you the rundown on NCLB, federal and state standards, teachers' unions, charter schools, urban v. suburban education, taxation and education, onandonandon... ;).

notabilia said...

... the textbook industry (billions of dollars), early childhood education, race and education, immigration and education...

imp said...

notabilia: We should! Thankfully, the film isn't the only reference point. it was one way to begin the discussion that ultimately has nothing very much to do with it. Muahahhaa. Half of us went through the US elementary and college system.

We've got readings to fall back on, as well as the assumption that most of us have watched the classics, i.e. 2 Million Minutes, The Paper Chase, Teached, Expelled- No Intelligence Allowed, We're The People We've Been Waiting For, Race To Nowhere...etc.

notabilia said...

I went through the system too - public school and all - but the landscape has DRAMATICALLY changed in the past decade or so. It's gotten worse, IMHO, even in suburban school districts. Anyway, I have lots to say about this subject and we can talk more when we next meet.

imp said...

notabilia: I (+ we) want to hear!