‘Tiger Mother’ sides with SAT question about reality TV

Laura Donovan Contributor
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“Tiger Mother” Amy Chua opposes reality television (and most fun things), but she supports the heavily criticized SAT question that asks students to explore the authenticity of shows like “The Jersey Shore,” “The Hills” and “Laguna Beach.”

Chua, who came under fire in January when she published a Wall Street Journal article titled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” has been condemned for promoting rigid parenting. Growing up, Chua’s children were not allowed to attend sleepovers, receive any grade lower than an “A”, be in a school play, or complain about being forbidden from participating in school plays.

Regardless of her strict Tiger Mom ways, Chua has no issue with the heavily scrutinized SAT prompt that reads: “How authentic can these [reality] shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?”

Test-takers used online forums to complain about the shallowness of a question regarding reality TV, but Chua insists test-takers should expect curve-balls to appear on such exams.

In a Daily Beast column published Sunday, Chua wrote, “I remember once my daughter Sophia came home from school complaining, ‘Mommy, it was so unfair! The teacher put a question about photosynthesis on the test when she promised us it wouldn’t be on it.’ I replied, ‘Why did you only study what she said was going to be on the test? You should have studied everything.’ If we encourage our kids to blame the test-makers, we’re not going to produce young adults prepared for life’s challenges.”

Chua went on to slam the students who whined about having to write about reality TV, speculating these complainers likely come from wealthy households.

“I’ll bet the kids doing the complaining are not too poor to have a TV but instead relatively privileged,” Chua wrote. “Any SAT essay question — whether about music, sports, or politics — will favor students with certain interests. If anything, a question about reality television is more fair than a question about, say, postmodernism or classical music, which probably would have a class or race bias. The truth is that the whole structure of the SAT wildly favors the demographic from which the complaining students most likely hail: kids, like mine, whose parents want them to read books and drill vocabulary words instead of watching television. Privileged kids claiming disadvantage will not make an inspiring new generation of leaders.”

Chua claims test-takers don’t need to be “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” experts to answer a generic essay prompt on reality television.

“Any high school student who prepares diligently for the SAT would know that she could easily get an essay question on a topic she knows nothing about,” Chua wrote. “There are hundreds of sample essay questions freely available. Anyone who actually sat down and practiced answering just 20 of them would have been prepared to structure a strong argument on just about anything. It’s not as if students were asked, ‘What is The Situation’s real name?’ or ‘Whom did ‘The Bachelor’ propose to?'”

Laura Donovan