"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

Monday, September 26, 2016

"There Is No Such Thing as a Free Lunch"

A restaurant offers free lunch if you buy a drink. What is on the menu, however, are foods with so much salt, forcing you to buy a lot of drinks. Of course, public schools in the United States provide free or reduced-price lunch to children from low-income families, and for most, the food is actually healthy. Nonetheless, someone still pays for this lunch. The National School Lunch Program, for example, is a federally assisted meal program. Nothing is really free. Free lunch for poor children is certainly for a good cause. But there are definitely examples out there that are not. There are instances where the intention is unquestionably right, but in the end, unintended bad consequences happen and these become the major result.

Above copied from Escambia School District
A specific example has been recently examined by Max Eden who writes an opinion article on the Hechinger Report. Eden cites the following statistics to prove a point:
More than half of the countries in the OECD offer free college. They have higher levels of enrollment than the United States but lower levels of postsecondary educational attainment. Overall, the average attainment rate in the OECD countries with free college is 38 percent.
In countries that charge tuition, the rate is 43 percent. Among the most developed nations, the G-7, those where students are charged tuition (Japan, 59 percent; Canada, 58 percent; United Kingdom, 48 percent; United States, 46 percent) all have higher levels of postsecondary educational attainment than those where tuition is free (France, 44 percent; Germany, 28 percent; Italy, 24 percent).
Based on the above numbers, going through college is really so much more than just being able to pay tuition. For one, tuition is not the only thing that students need. There are living expenses. Second, and this should be obvious, paying tuition is not a guarantee for graduation.

The Department of Education in the Philippines always touts that the senior high school years added to basic education are free. Again, this is not true. These additional years require resources. The senior years are likewise not added as a mere appendix to the old curriculum. After all, the new curriculum is promoted by its advocates as a decongestion of the old one.  Sadly, as resources have been stretched far off their limits, quality in the first ten years have been sacrificed to make way for the new curriculum. Nothing is free, and in this case, students even face a lower quality basic education on top of spending two more years.

Recently, the Suspend K to 12 Alliance shared a message from a student regarding the new grade 11 of DepEd. To this student, the senior high school does not actually work towards mastery. Grade 11 subjects appear to be a repeat of what they have already gone through during the junior years of high school. In the sciences, how can a school system really offer advanced courses when there is not even enough teachers for the basic subjects.

Asking children to spend two more years on basic education is not free. And when it comes at the expense of quality, what is free becomes clearly a burden. The following is the post shared by the Suspend K to 12 Alliance.
Here's what a student from Visayas told us via a Facebook message: "Good evening po, I found this page and finally masasabi ko na ang mga hinanakit ko sa bagong curriculum na ito... I'm currently a grade 11 student from a private school here in Bacolod City and being a part of this experimental K-12 education didn't do anything good for me. It's already September 25, 2016 and starting from June na pumasok ako sa paaralan, ito yung mga observations ko... Of course, I could say na very unprepared ang Philippines despite all those intense advertising and sweet-talk, I know that basing on the current situation of the country ay talagang palpak ito at palpak nga talaga. Sabi nila "preparation" daw para sa college pero yung nakikita ko ay mali eh. STEM nga meaning yung kinuha kong strand stands for SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING AND MATHEMATICS so why is it na yung subjects na nakuha namin noong junior high school pa ay paulit ulit lamang and the subjects that are supposed to be relevant to the strand ang dapat na tutukan ay hindi na natututukan kasi other subjects are also in the way. Sabi raw "mastery" but I can't help but think of it as stupid. Anong mastery ba ang kailangan mo sa Oral Communication subject (for example) if gusto mong kumuha ng engineering course? Sana yung mga "basics" iwan nalang sa Junior High School. I seriously have high (a bit) expectations sa Senior High School noong grade 10 dahil akala ko iba na eh. True, may addition ng mga subjects na hindi nakuha noong junior high PERO KAUNTI LAMANG and mostly nakuha naman namin noon. "Mastery" and proper preparation should happen kung college na. Instead of empowering the college education, why is it na binigyan pa ng bukol ang Pilipinas? For me, there's no need na for this because our upperclassmen even managed to get decent jobs even though wala silang K-12 noon so why can't we too? If Philippines will be the ONLY country without K-12 education then so be it. Instead of matching other countries, why don't we focus on improving our own curriculum of high school education which only have 4 years. Even the US have questions on their education, what if tinanggal nila 2 years sa kanilang curriculum? Susunod din ba tayo? The point is, there really is something wrong with the education here in the Philippines at dinagdagan pa ng 2 years. Only if they just thought of improving 4 years if high school education to match with the world, then adding 2 years would simply be unnecessary. I don't even think that some Senior High School students are taking this curriculum seriously."

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