"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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Media and Lies Regarding K to 12

One of my classmates back in high school, Alfonso Corpuz, teaches science in a public high school in the Philippines. Once in a while, he comments on the articles I post on this blog. To the announcement of Briones' nomination to be education secretary, Corpuz writes, "This I got to see. She appears to know the roots of the problems of Philippine education. But leaders can only order, change must come from the grassroots. Re-educating Filipinos is needed, and the MEDIA has to be changed to be MORE RESPONSIBLE." I remember years ago when I tried to get an opinion article that I wrote criticizing DepEd's K to 12 published on the Inquirer. I was told, however, that the editor would need to give DepEd a chance to reply. My article never got published. Instead, only articles promoting K to 12 continue to be published.

Above copied from The Inquirer
Reading news articles from the Inquirer on DepEd's K to 12 is often guaranteed with the following:
  • The program is beneficial in the long-term to make the country’s education system at par with the rest of the world.
  • Filipinos abroad face discrimination in the workplace and get lower ranks because they lack two years of secondary education without the K to 12 in place.
And not surprisingly, the recent interview of Briones has her saying the same old lines that defend DepEd's K to 12. After reading Briones' interview with Oxfam, one can only stand in disbelief after seeing that the first words from the nominee are repeats of lies DepEd has been spreading all these years. My classmate in high school does make a good point. Media especially newspapers need to be more responsible. 

The problem with media miseducating the public is not confined to the Philippines. In the US, Alexander Russo writes an article in the Washington Monthly that hopefully wakes up journalists on how often education issues get misreported. Russo writes:

"...and this isn’t the first time that the media’s hyped an important education and fostered public misconceptions. Ten years ago, the New Yorker’s Kate Boo wrote about how Head Start hype had hurt its prospects. This 2008 “On The Media” segment explored how the media got NCLB wrong. The now-infamous 10,000 hours rule turns out not to have been so universal as it initially seemed. Just recently, the NYT went back and re-reported the 1999 Columbine shooting and found several major problems...."

Russo's article, "Reflections: Journalism’s Role In The Current “Grit” Hype/ Criticism Cycle", talks primarily about one instance during which US News Media had not challenged the craze about "Grit", helping proclaim that this new measure explained so much about education. This blog had talked about grit, where Alfie Kohn's concerns were raised:

  • The idea is hardly new. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
  • It’s a deeply conservative notion, part of a larger focus on self-control. 
  • Whether persistence is desirable depends on your goal. Not everything is worth doing, let alone doing for extended periods. It’s the choice of goal that ought to come first and count more.
  • Grit can actually be counterproductive. Often it just doesn’t make sense to continue with a problem that resists solution or persist at a task that no longer provides satisfaction. 
  • Grit can be unhealthy. 
  • What matters isn’t just how long one persists, but why one does so. 
  • Some of the research cited to support grit is remarkably unenlightening when you think about it. 
  • Other grit research raises questions about the outcome variables that have been chosen. 
  • Ultimately, the case for grit doesn’t rely on research at all but on a (very debatable) set of priorities and values. It’s justified almost exclusively as a way to boost academic achievement. 
  • Grit isn’t just philosophically conservative in its premises but also politically conservative in its consequences. The more we focus on whether people have or lack persistence (or self-discipline more generally), the less likely we’ll be to question larger policies and institutions. 
  • Russo is talking about grit now because media in the US are currently backtracking on something they previously promoted into a fad. The new skepticism on grit is fueled by recent research that now clearly debunks what media have been flaunting. One paper on grit, scheduled to be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, does a meta-analysis of grit literature and finds nothing really special about grit as a predictor of success and performance.

    At least, US media seem to learn and listen to research, evidence and reason. In the Philippines, the media simply continue to propagate the "truths" that they have manufactured.



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