"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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

DepEd's K to 12: "Stop the School Bus" or "Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!"

Education reforms that are not supported by evidence can have serious and negative ramifications on both students and teachers. Wrong measures are unfortunately never innocuous. Proponents of DepEd's K to 12 must go beyond reciting platitudes and making outrageous promises. A reality check is now more than ever imperative. The mere fact that the new curriculum has already been in place for the past three years can never justify a continuation on the same misguided path. Of course, the right time to stop DepEd's K to 12 was three years ago but this does not mean that it is no longer correct to dump a wrong curriculum. Yesterday was better, but today is still a gazillion times more desirable than tomorrow or never.

In addition to the intrinsic weaknesses of the curriculum and the low quality and availability of learning materials, the following only demonstrate how utterly unprepared the government is in implementing the K to 12 curriculum.

  • "The Department of Education met only 16 percent of the 43,183 classrooms targeted by its 2014 budget of P37.67 billion under the Basic Education Facilities Fund for Construction of Classrooms provision." - Representative Antonio Tinio
  • "DepEd expects that the remaining 800,000 or so students will be absorbed by what they call as ‘non-DepEd schools.’ Bulk of such schools are private education institutions that charge high tuition rates" - Representative Terry Ridon
It should not be surprising then to see a third petition to the Supreme Court asking for the suspension of K to 12. Below is a screen capture of BusinessWorldOnline:


As a defense, proponents of K to 12 are asking for what the alternatives are, as if it is not intrinsically good to stop something that is bad. As Gerald Tirozzi, an education leader in the United States, points out, there are two choices: "Stop the School Bus" or "Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!". Gerald Tirozzi is a former Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education and author of the following book:


Similar to Tirozzi, the critics of DepEd's K to 12 have recommendations that go beyond simply suspending the new curriculum. In fact, most critics are imploring for prioritizing instead the basic needs of education: classrooms, learning materials, and working conditions of teachers. Proponents continue to deny that these shortages can be met while implementing the new curriculum. Again, a reality check is a must. 

We could also learn from Tirozzi. There is a site on the web called Five Things - "a collection of personal reflections from education leaders devoted to improving the fortunes of others through learning." Tirozzi's entries are as follows:
  • Teaching must be seen as the center of the educational universe.
  • The role of the federal government in school reform must be substantially reduced.
  • We must move away from a "proficiency for all" mentality.
  • It is a primary focus of education to prepare students for life and not work.
  • Pre-school education should be the foundation for of all school reform.
The salaries and working conditions of teachers in the Philippines must be addressed first otherwise the much needed elevation of the teaching profession would never happen. Opponents of K to 12 have been saying this even before K to 12. The reform must really come from the classrooms, from the teachers. A dictated top-down reform has no chance of being implemented correctly. "Proficiency for all", like any sound bite in education reform, is really meaningless. Proponents should not use a wish list to promote a curriculum. A curriculum can be considered good not because of the promises it makes but because of the promises it delivers. Basic education is really much more than preparing for either employment or college education. Opponents of K to 12 are asking for a curriculum that does not promote labor export but one that advances a productive membership in Philippine society. Kindergarten and the early years need all the attention and resources the government can provide. Failure in these years can not be addressed by additional years in high school. Clearly, there are so many alternatives that directly address the problems Philippine basic education faces. These alternatives are in the right direction and, at the same time, will avoid those damn torpedoes.





3 comments:

  1. Herminia Villar GreenMay 28, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    Junk the K12! That only add burdens to our poor parents. Dr Luistro don't you know that our country belongs to the 3RD WORLD globe?Don't you know that 75% of our populations belong to poverty level? If this is the case that K12 is implemented we will have plenty of JUVENILE DELIQUENTS in our society because only few students can continue their education due to poverty.

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  2. I think one important question is why are the classrooms not built even with funds available. Are these too early for elections?

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  3. Allowance Mo AnakMay 31, 2015 at 6:51 AM

    We should work together to stop k-12. It's badly designed and this is the worse to implement the 2 additional years. How can we make them listen to us? Please inform me. Please go to my FB "allowance mo anak"

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