"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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Optimistic but Heartbroken

"Though heartbroken at this result, this was about economic change and a yearning for change, not an undermining of all things we hold dear like public schools", Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, wrote in an email that I received last night. I was interviewed today at Georgetown and was asked to send a brief message to president-elect Donald Trump. I said, "I hope you keep in mind that you won in the election by a razor-thin margin. That small margin came from working families who had placed their hope in some of the promises that you made. Their schools and communities are counting on you."

While Trump has said so many things during his campaign, most of these are not the wishes of the majority. With a ton of issues, we often tend to focus on one and ignore the rest. This frequently happens when we are trying to elect an individual or when we are faced with a proposed legislation that tackles too many things. One great example is the reason why this blog started: Philippines DepEd's K to 12. In the post "Mother Tongue Based - Multilingual Education : The Strategy?", I wrote:
DepEd's K to12 is an example of a gargantuan reform that is founded on a set of promises made by President Aquino. Yet, it even includes additional elements that are not in the original campaign platform and some even runs contrary. No formal subject of science in the early years runs contrary to the promotion of science education. Dilution of high school curriculum to include instruction that is better learned at home or other venues likewise contributes to congestion of the curriculum and a decreased emphasis on science. The spiral approach, not included in the promises, by itself is already gigantic. Both size and scope of DepEd's K to 12 come from various interests that have been blended and combined into one enormous package. By doing so, DepEd's K to 12 has something to offer to everyone who has a say or influence on how Philippine basic education should be reformed. It does not matter whether some elements may be disagreeable, as long as there is one element to which an influential group strongly subscribes. Each element has its own set of followers with zeal, who would be willing to turn a blind eye to the other elements. There are people who think that 12 years of basic education is a must. DepEd's K to 12 caters to this set since these people do not care if the other elements of the new curriculum are wrong as long as it involves two additional years. There are educators who are completely convinced that a spiral incursion through disciplines is the way to go. As long as this element is present in the new curriculum, everything is acceptable. DepEd's K to 12 thus caters to various sectors by providing each one with a piece of the pie. And since everything goes, why not add a new grading system. This may attract additional support and steer the discussion away from the real problems such as shortages in resources as well as poor salaries and working conditions of teachers. These interests become united into one since conviction behind one element is so strong that compromises are easy enough to swallow. "At least, we are getting what we want, never mind the entire picture," describes the underlying justification. Some who have advocated intensely for mother tongue education are no exception.
Trump won because there are people who have lost jobs because of globalization and the disruptive innovation brought by technology. Trump won because there are people who think that the country is in a very bad situation. On the other hand, Trump won because there are people who indeed want to see a great wall built.  Trump was an enigma and there are people who simply bought into one of his promises and ignored the rest. For this reason, it is indeed difficult to have optimism, but we must.

Above copied from QuotesGram

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