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Get the Vaccine and Keep Wearing a Mask

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They say, "It takes a village to raise a child". With the coronavirus pandemic, it takes the entire world to extinguish COVID cases. We are now just weeks before school starts and another wave of cases is imminent. Children have already missed more than a year of in-person schooling. The risk of school closures is once again with us in so many places in this world. It takes time to learn how we should address challenges. However, plenty of time have already passed and there is now clarity in what we must do. There are vaccines that are effective against this virus. We also know that wearing masks greatly curbs its transmission. Unfortunately, that is not the difficult part. What appears insurmountable is the fact that we all have to do our part. Above copied from MITMedical   The longer it takes for us to rise to this challenge, the greater the opportunity for the virus to mutate into a variant that can thrive even with vaccines. That, of course, brings us to an even more pre

"80% of Filipino children do not know what they should know"

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A failing basic educational system in the Philippines is no secret. International assessments clearly demonstrate this dire situation. Even the Philippines own national achievement test points to the fact that the educational system has worsened. A report from the World Bank is not really necessary to highlight this predicament. What is plainly imperative is for the Philippines administration to admit its dismal performance. Above copied from the Manila Times An educational system should be guided by science, by research, by assessments. Unfortunately, as in other fields of endeavor, there are charlatans. In addition, there are interests. The delivery of basic education, after all, is a giant enterprise. Thus, even when facts are clear, considerations outside of research become paramount. Thus, after the World Bank reports that "80% of Filipino children do not know what they should know", we see the following: Above copied from the World Bank Honestly, there are really no add

A Champion for Our Youth and Education

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"At sa pagdating ng aking paglisan, maaaring malimutan ng lahat ang aking mga ginawa, masama man o mabuti, subalit kung sa akin, ang aking mga nagawa para sa aking bayan ay mananatiling matamis na alaala." (After my time is over, people will forget what I've done, both the good and bad. This will not matter anyhow; but if only to myself, I will cherish the sweet memories of the things I've done for my town and my people.) -Emmanuel Cadayona COVID has taken so many lives. COVID has forced us to close schools. And today, I lost a dear friend to COVID. Emmanuel Cadayona, known to many as "Ka Noel", served his hometown as mayor for several terms. More than a decade ago, Ka Noel told me, "After my time is over, people will forget what I've done, both the good and the bad. This will not matter anyhow, but if only to myself, I will cherish the sweet memories of the things I've done for my town and my people. He inspired me to reach out to the elementar

We Cannot Thank Enough Our Hadworking Teachers

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It is Teacher Appreciation Week. During normal times, we are definitely and extremely grateful to all teachers who have committed their best hours for the development and growth of our children. In these very challenging times, our hardworking teachers have done so much more. They continue to help feed children from low income families. They turn their classrooms into something virtual on a moment's notice. And when in-person instruction returns, teachers are asked to do the impossible, concurrent teaching, where some students are inside the classroom, while others choose to stay home. This week is our opportunity to show how much we appreciate these public servants. We cannot thank enough our hardworking teachers. As a token of appreciation, my spouse, with the school's parents and teachers association, provided breakfast to the teachers in the middle school my daughter attends. It is a small token for the outstanding effort our teachers have been giving during these times.  T

Should We Raise Athletes Or Should We Raise Children?

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My son participates in a recreational soccer league and last week, his coach asked this question to the player's parents: "Do we want to win or do we just want to play and have fun?" Actually, if one strictly follows the rules of the recreational league, parents do not have such an option. Our recreational soccer league specifically states, "All players in good standing must play at least 50 percent of the game." Clearly, all players must be given the opportunity to play regardless of the player's skills. Yet, our team even bothers to ask whether it is acceptable to keep on the bench players deemed not to be at the level necessary to win a game. While some parents did express their desire to win, one parent says that we should treat this situation like how we treat children in their classrooms. We are teaching every child in a classroom regardless of what ability we perceive a child has. Every child deserves an education. The same should hold true in recreat

"Gifted Programs Provide Little to No Academic Boost"

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Five years ago, research has shown us convincingly that Black and Hispanic children are underrepresented in advanced academic programs. It has been long argued that schools need to respond to the needs of gifted children. Unfortunately, for such programs to succeed, it is required that students be properly identified. This area has always been challenging. Studies have pointed out time and again that selections have been disproportionate on the basis of race, ethnicity and family income.  Above copied from Grissom, Jason A., and Christopher Redding. 2016. “Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs.”  AERA Open  2(1): 1-25 Now, research has something else to say: Above copied from the Hechinger Report This new study is scheduled to be published in May 2021 in the journal of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, but authors of the study have provided us with a preview. The following summarizes the fi

What We Need to Learn from this Pandemic

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It is heartbreaking to see that cases of coronavirus are surging in the Philippines. Cases are likewise exploding in India. We are also clearly not out of the woods yet here in the United States. Nonetheless, there are signs and talks about returning to normal. One area that has witnessed a great impact from the pandemic is education. Yet, we still seemed to be obsessed with deadlines, tests, competitions and submissions. Schools remain a place where success simply means being able to jump through hoops. Children and their educators are only expected to satisfy requirements, requirements that have become eternal even amidst a pandemic. The coronavirus has changed our lives in so many ways, but what seems to be impervious is our "standards of learning", a set of rules that me must comply with, no matter what the circumstances are. If there is one good thing that this pandemic can teach us, it is the reality that our schools must be communities where we all grow to become more