"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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"It's the Economy, Stupid": A Lesson That Should Be Required for Philippines' DepEd

This phrase apparently came from a sign that James Carville made for Bill Clinton's campaign headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was supposed to be one of the three simple and direct to the point reminders for Clinton's campaign staff:

Above copied from The Hayride
Economics touches our lives in so many different ways. Economics is obviously very important in basic education. Even the World Bank recognizes this fact in the following brief:

To read this brief, click here
Ignoring the economics of education can certainly lead to wrong curricular reforms. One example, sadly, is the Philippines DepEd K+12 curriculum. Education requires both capital and talent. Good schools need learning materials, effective teachers, and adequate infrastructure. These are necessary inputs for education. Thus, the first two lessons that the Philippines' DepEd needs to take into heart are the following:

First, children from families who are poor are at a disadvantage. These children require more in terms of learning resources. In fact, the following study estimates that it is at least twice more expensive to educate a child from a poor family.

Above copied from Economics of Education Review
Second, raising standards in education requires more money. For example, to simply raise the students' performance in schools in New York City to 50th percentile (median of current test takers in the New York standardized tests), a 370% increase in funding is estimated by the following study:

Above copied from Economics of Education Review

With the above in mind, what has DepEd done in terms of providing for the needs required by new standards? Judging from the way DepEd is implementing the new curriculum, it is quite obvious that DepEd needs a lesson or two from James Carville:

THE ECONOMY, STUPID

An obvious first step in solving problems in basic education is not to create new and even bigger problems.


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