"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Should Teachers Fight for Higher Salaries?

Qout Capita Tot Sensus. There are as many opinions as there are heads. This is basically what one gets when one asks how the dismal situation of Philippine basic education can be addressed. Take, for instance, a recent meeting held at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati that recently addressed the "poor quality" of teaching in the Philippines. Some focused on the licensure exam - as if an exam could really define the quality of teaching. Some looked at the grades of high school graduates entering the teaching schools. Some even provided evidence that people who have finished a college degree before going into a teacher education program were more effective. One person, however, Dr. Cris Acido of the University of the Philippines College of Education, was quoted as saying:
“We don’t get the best minds because of the status we have given the teaching profession. Giving higher salaries could be a move in the right direction."
This opinion given by Acido is in fact based on evidence. Teachers' salaries are tied to student performance and learning outcomes. The European Union, for example, tried hard to distill what makes quality educational systems work and found that teachers salaries and learning resources are the ones that correlate positively with student performance (Agasisti, T. (2014), The Efficiency of Public Spending on Education: an empirical comparison of EU countries. European Journal of Education. doi: 10.1111/ejed.12069). The correlation between teachers' salaries and quality education, however, is not simply a correlation. It is causal and as Acido correctly states, the mechanism involves attracting the required talent to the profession. Here is a study from the state of Pennsylvania:

Applied Economic Letters, 2010, 17, 547-550
Higher salaries not only attract talent, but also help retain experienced and effective teachers:



Journal of Public Economics, 2014, 109, 50-63
Results from a study on the Los Angeles school district agree with the above.

Journal of Economics and Finance 2013
Unfortunately, no one in power seems to be listening. Teachers in the Philippines have been asking for a salary increase for years now, yet their requests seem to keep falling on deaf ears. Hence, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) are planning to take a mass leave right at the beginning of classes this coming school year.

The following is the response from ACT-Davao regarding the announcement made by Philippines DepEd secretary Luistro that there would be no salary increase for 2014:

***PRESS RELEASE***

23 MAY 2014

ACT DAVAO REGION UNION REACTS TO LUISTRO'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF NO SALARY INCREASES FOR THIS YEAR

“We are saddened that our DepED Secretary, Br. Armin Luistro is the bearer of bad news for us teachers. On the other hand, we welcome his pronouncements that he supports our call for the increase in teachers' salaries. As the head of our agency, and as a cabinet secretary to BS Aquino, he should be more vocal about his support,” declared Elenito Escalante, President of ACT Davao Region Union and a DepED high school science teacher.

Pilar Barredo, a DepED teacher herself and the group's Secretary General added, “Br. Armin's announcement in the news today did not surprise us as our ACT TEACHERS Partylist Representative, Cong. Antonio Tinio always updates us regarding the goings on in Congress where increases in teachers' salaries are approved or disapproved. We, public school teachers, are determined more than ever to aggressively push for the immediate approval of our House Bill 245 mandating the increase of teachers' salaries from P18,549 to P25,000 and the salary of non-teaching personnel from P9,000 to P15,000.”

“Moreover, as a religious person, we urge Br. Armin to aggressively speak against pork barrel in the Congressional PDAF and the even bigger Presidential DAP. Any government official or private individual has no credibility whenever they say that there is no budget for the increase in teachers' and non-teaching personnel's salaries when there are billions for corruption,” said Escalante.

“Such has been the role of Liberal Party stalwart and DBM Secretary Butch Abad, himself a former DepED Secretary, along with other key LP allies in Congress and Senate. They keep sabotaging our House Bills during hearings in Congress, meanwhile, BS Aquino who leads the LP refuses to certify our House Bills as urgent or of priority. We thus urge Br. Armin to stand, speak, and act with us,” concluded Barredo.

References:

ELENITO R. ESCALANTE
President
ACT Davao Region Union
mobile no. 0923 852 850 6

PILAR S. BARREDO
Secretary General
ACT Davao Region Union
mobile no. 0920 824 467 9



The teachers are fighting for what is actually good for Philippine basic education. A mass leave will be disruptive, but inaction simply perpetuates the dismal condition of education. As Abraham "Ditto" Sarmiento, Jr. said, "Kung hindi tayo kikilos, sino ang kikilos? Kung di tayo kikibo, sino ang kikibo? Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?" (If we do not act, who will act? If we do not care, who will care? If not now, when?)

Above copied from Para sa Bayan

7 comments:

  1. ..a good study also is to look into how teacher's salary in the Salary Standardizaiton Law has affected the performance of teachers and students. Maybe we should look whether the increase in teachers salary (in real terms) has also increased students performance, or retention of teachers. Or ano ba ang effect ng SSL (pagtaas ng sweldo ng guro) sa kalidad ng pagtuturo or kasanayan ng mga mag-aaral?


    one phenomenon that happened after SSL is the transfer of private school teachers to public schools. if we follow the logic of the study cited above, e.g., Hendricks, the current transfer of private school teachers to public school indicates that there is no issue with the retention of teachers, thus it can be argued that the current level of teacher salary does not result to low retention of teachers.


    my take on this is, while 1) what is the optimum level of teacher salary that will result to the desired outcome? walang siansabi ang mga pag-aaral. basta na lang itaas, hanggang saan? 2) naniniwala ako na may effect ang pagtaas ng sahod ng guro sa pagtuturo at kaalaman ng mga mag-aaral, subalit eto ay mas kaunti kompara sa iba pang factos, kagaya halimbawa ng kagalingan ng guro (teacher competence). 3) ano ang pangunahing education outcome ang hangad or tinutugunan ng pagtaas ng sahod?

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  2. There are various studies (including those by OECD with regard to PISA scores and teachers's salaries) that indicate that the optimum level is reached when teachers' salaries are comparable or competitive to those of other professions (engineers, lawyers, doctors). In the Philippines, student performance is not the only justification to raise salaries. Current teachers' pay has not kept with costs of living. The salaries are not adequate to support a family. The question is not so much about retention but more on attracting talent to the profession. Effective and good teachers are also leaving the profession and are going overseas. Teacher competence cannot be achieved by simply raising standards. One needs to attract good students into the teaching profession and this is not going to happen if the teaching profession fails miserably in comparison with other much more lucrative professions.These are all clear. Both reasons justify the raise of teachers' salaries in the Philippines.

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  3. I should also highlight what ACT Davao has said:

    "“Moreover, as a religious person, we urge Br. Armin to aggressively speak against pork barrel in the Congressional PDAF and the even bigger Presidential DAP. Any government official or private individual has no credibility whenever they say that there is no budget for the increase in teachers' and non-teaching personnel's salaries when there are billions for corruption,” said Escalante.
    “Such has been the role of Liberal Party stalwart and DBM Secretary Butch Abad, himself a former DepED Secretary, along with other key LP allies in Congress and Senate. They keep sabotaging our House Bills during hearings in Congress, meanwhile, BS Aquino who leads the LP refuses to certify our House Bills as urgent or of priority. We thus urge Br. Armin to stand, speak, and act with us,” concluded Barredo.

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  4. Aside from teacher's salaries, there is also the issue of other benefits and incentives, such as leaves. There is also the treatment of teachers by administrators, fellow staff and more. Salary though is still a big issue for me. Perhaps there is a level of salary wherein it is not too large but it remains satisfactory for teachers since it will give them disposable income. It might have to be a compromise of sorts.

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  5. Thank you very much for commenting here, Chino. Upgrading salaries, of course, is just one step. A culture of meritocracy and professionalism is the end objective. The reason why one should start with salaries is the fact that this is so much more than lip service. It is the most tangible way of showing respect to the profession.

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  6. Upgrading salaries can likewise help in restoring dignity in the teaching profession. Inadequate pay transforms teaching into a much weaker profession, one that is enslaved by nepotism and corruption. Compare that to an expensive overhaul of a curriculum, which does nothing to uplift the quality of education in the country, but only benefit those who have lucrative and corrupt interests in education. Adding two years to basic education plus replacing all textbooks and learning materials are so expensive. These will amount to nothing if those in the ground, those who are directly involved in educating our children are still forced to take extra and odd jobs just to make their basic needs met.

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  7. Dignity. Isn't that something everyone deserves? But there a lot of people, like some administrators and even elite in society, who want to diminish others' dignity. "Be thankful you have something to eat every day," "...that you have a salary at all" or something like that, delivered in a way meant to reduce other people's desire for more (deserved) dignity to themselves. Possibly one of the tools to maintain the social divide between people in different socio-economic classes.

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