Showing posts from June, 2013

Malaybalay City, Bukidnon-DepEd charging for classroom learning packages?

by Joy Rizal

I recently learned of some disturbing issues regarding this school year’s (2013-2014) text books / learning packages which the schools are suppose to be using. (The Learning Packages, which are essentially low budget workbooks, are to be used until next year or perhaps the following school year when standard textbooks should be available.)

According to a recent news article in several national publications senior DepEd officials have stated several times that throughout the nation there should be no shortage or a very small shortage of text books /learning packages available for students this school year. Here is one example:

DepEd: No more shortage of classrooms, teachersBy Helen Flores(The Philippine Star) | Updated May 31, 2013 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines - There will be no more shortage of classrooms, teachers and textbooks in public schools this coming school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) said yesterday. DepEd Assistant Secretary for Planning Jesus Mate…

What Applies to Teachers Do Not Apply to Administrators....

"Evaluations" have become a big word in schools. Teachers need to be held accountable for what they do. If a class is not reaching the goals set by a curriculum, should we place the blame fully on educators. While educators are being subjected to evaluations, it is disconcerting that the administrators are not. The Wall Street journal recently published an article, "New York City School Chiefs Get Informal Job Checks: Top School Administrators Haven't Been Subject to Formal Evaluations".

Early Childhood Teachers: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

I was a senior in high school and was participating in a regional Science Fair when I just happened to see my physics teacher from third year high school. It had been months since I last saw her and we chatted about out class. She shared with me her impressions of our class, specifically what she thought about me. She said I was a "late bloomer". Nevertheless, she saw some potential. Well, I did not become a physicist. I settled for physics' blithe sibling, chemistry. I am using here the words of Nobel laureate Dudley Herschbach who recalls in a paper remarks such as "A topic is dead when it has been turned over to the chemists."

A Survey of Teachers and Principals

In the United States, Harris Interactive recently reported a survey sponsored by Metlife of public K-12 teachers and principals:


Dan Brown is currently serving as a teacher ambassador fellow. He is currently on leave from his teaching duties so that he can give a voice to educators in policies being drawn by the government. Dan Brown recently interviewed US secretary of education Arne Duncan on the topic, "Perceptions of Teachers":

Related to this, the US Department of Education has recently released a report called "Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT)":

The following is a brief description of RESPECT:
To support this vision, the U.S. Department of Education has begun working with educators—teachers, school and district leaders, teachers’ associations and unions, and state and national education organizations—to spark a national conversation about transforming education for the 21st century. We call it the RESPECT Project. RESPECT stands for Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching. Educati…

Do the Wealthy Have a Different Perspective on Education?

I came across a recent article on Perspective on Politics. The article is the following:
Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans Benjamin I. Pagea1, Larry M. Bartelsa2 and Jason Seawrighta3 a1 Northwestern University. E-mail:   a2 Vanderbilt University. E-mail:  a3 Northwestern University. E-mail: Abstract It is important to know what wealthy Americans seek from politics and how (if at all) their policy preferences differ from those of other citizens. There can be little doubt that the wealthy exert more political influence than the less affluent do. If they tend to get their way in some areas of public policy, and if they have policy preferences that differ significantly from those of most Americans, the results could be troubling for democratic policy making. Recent evidence indicates that “affluent” Americans in the top fifth of the income distribution are socially more liberal but eco…

K to 12, 13 Years of Basic Education

There are two major opinions regarding basic education. It prepares students for a career or employment. It is also viewed as a stepping stone to higher education or college. Whatever the objectives are, basic education is universally composed of stages. This is how human learning works. We learn to walk before we learn to run. Knowledge and skills are both cumulative. With this in mind, whether basic education is aimed at a vocation or college education becomes irrelevant. The "basic" in basic education means that the early stages are meant to serve both tracks. For this reason, when basic education is failing it is important to pinpoint where the problem is first evident. Not doing so denies completely the fact that education is very much akin to climbing a ladder.

Future Homemakers' Class (Ibaba Elementary School)

The following photos were downloaded from the Facebook page of Ibaba Elementary School (Paete, Laguna, Philippines):

The STEM Situation in the United States

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) play a vital role in industrialized and knowledge-based economies. Thus, there is particular attention to these fields when a country weighs its current standing in the global economy. The president of the United States spent several sentences on this issue in his inaugural speech months ago. STEM issues, however, are not easily distilled or summarized in a simple picture. Very recently, the Economics Policy Institute (EPI) published a paper that suggested that in terms of the STEM workforce, the United States actually does not face a serious shortage. In "Guestworkers in the high-skill U.S. labor market", Salzman, Kuehl and Lowell demonstrated by analyzing current statistics on both education and employment that "the United States has more than a sufficient supply of workers available to work in STEM occupations."

The following figures copied from the EPI paper illustrate the arguments made by the authors. Fi…

Global Competitiveness through Education

In May of 2012, China launched its first National Early Childhood Development (ECD) Advocacy Month. UNICEF-China reported:
"By making early childhood education and development a clear government priority, China is taking a momentous step toward ending the inter-generational cycle of poverty, achieving the Millennium Development Goals and brightening the future for all of its citizens.” said UNICEF Representative to China, Ms. Gillian Mellsop.A body of scientific evidence shows that quality early childhood development is vital to children’s optimal physical, mental and emotional growth. Yet according to official statistics, only around half of young children in China have access to preschool education. Preschool attendance rates are even lower in rural areas.

Social and Emotional Learning

In examining public school education, one can focus on academics alone and sadly lose sight of other important dimensions of child development. A child is expected not only to master reading, writing and arithmetic but also grow healthy - both physically and emotionally. Society requires not only critical thinking but social skills as well. And since character especially self-control is correlated with better learning, a child whose physical, emotional and social needs are met is likewise more likely to do well in academics. Those who advocate for these additional dimensions in learning may be quick to ask for special programs or additional subjects in school. These, however, are not necessary. Social and emotional learning can be integrated inside lessons and activities in reading, writing, math, arts, music, science and social studies. The trick is building and nurturing a special bond between a child and the school. A school is no different from a home. Inside each classroom is al…

If Students Do Not Learn, Schools Should Pay

What a concept! An idea such as this makes me realize that solving problems in education does require society to change. How education is viewed by society guides how schools are reformed. Education is a right and therefore must be accessible to all. The same goes for health care. These rights, however, come with responsibilities. Both education and health care can not be narrowly viewed as other services or goods that we buy from a store that come with "satisfaction guaranteed":

Differentiating Instruction to Engage Learners

Sitting still inside a classroom while trying to listen attentively to an instructor for consecutive 50-minute blocks with only ten minutes to go from one classroom to the next could be challenging to an adolescent. Most of us remember our high school years as days when we really began learning more about ourselves and our relations to others. In high school, there seems to be a growing need to become more active learners inside a classroom. At the same time, there is now a desire to become more social. Science laboratory classes seem cool when done in groups and students work side by side on a given task. It is more active. It is much more engaging. Besides, we can then chat about things other than the subject we are trying to learn.

Animation : Illusion of Understanding

There are times when I do something out of the ordinary in my General Chemistry class. I would ask for five volunteers, four females and one male. The five would stand in front of the class with the male student surrounded by the four female students. I would given them a piece of chalk. I would then turn my back and instruct the volunteers to pass around the piece of chalk among themselves and let me know when they had decided who would keep it. I then had to guess who among the five was holding the piece of chalk. Unless I was lucky, I would not be able to guess correctly. That stroke of luck did not happen that often so I would ask one of the girls to return to her seat so that now I would have to guess only from four individuals. Still, one in four was still not good and I would request another one among the volunteers to return to her seat. One in three provided better chances and of course, as I asked another volunteer to sit down, I would now have a 50:50 chance of guessing wh…

"Would I Want My Child in This Classroom?"

When policies and reforms are being drawn by people who do not have as much as a stake as a parent who actually has a child enrolled in the school, reasonable doubts spring. Dana Goldstein writes in "Does It Matter When Education Reformers and Activists Send Their Own Kids to Private School?":

All the Mangyans Want Is for Their Children to Learn

Formed in 2009, Haggibat, the organization of Mangyan tribes, has caused the building of 16 to 18 literacy schools among seven tribes in communities in the uplands of Mindoro. But all their efforts would come to naught if the military would continue to harass them to stop them from organizing against the operations of mining firms.

Read Also:Mangyan’s lit-num schools face seemingly insurmountable challenges

By MARYA SALAMAT 7 June 2013

MANILA — Every opening of the schoolyear, the spotlight is focused on the public school system’s lack of classrooms, books and toilets. Often though, the spotlight misses the school situation of indigenous children. For children of the Mangyan, an indigenous people’s group comprising seven linguistic tribes in Mindoro, school opening is marked by an even more basic set of problem — they do not have schools nearby.

Mangyan children share stories during the Mangyan Day gathering of 7 tribes in Mindoro (Photo by M. Salamat /
If …

Mangyan's Lit-Num Schools Face Seemingly Insurmountable Challenges

The schools of the Mangyans have to deal with shortages, water being cut off during heavy rains, and harassments from the military. But they persist and are even planning to expand.
Read also:All the Mangyans want is for their children to learn By MARYA SALAMAT 7 June 2013

MANILA – Edgar Banaw, 25, a Hanunuo-Mangyan, has been teaching at the literacy school of their community in Sitio Gaang, village of Panatayan, Mansalay, Mindoro. He is called a “para-teacher,” as he is not a licensed teacher under the Professional Regulatory Commission. But for five years now, he has been teaching Mangyan children in their sitio or sub-village the “nine basic lines, the Filipino alphabet, numeracy and literacy.” Banaw was encouraged to teach by fellow Hanunuo and pioneer lit-num teacher in Mansalay, Ernie Uybad. Two years older than Banaw, Uybad first taught Mangyan children and even elders to read and write in 2007. Uybad first taught in another sitio after talking with Mangyan leaders, …

Introducing a New Curriculum

With the introduction of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the United States, it may be worthwhile for the Philippines to examine and observe how a new curriculum is implemented. The changes in the United States public school education are not as dramatic as the Philippines DepEd's K to 12. CCSS involves new standards for mathematics and english language arts. On the other hand, the new curriculum in the Philippines includes addition of kindergarten plus two years at the end of high school, mother tongue based - multilingual education, and a spiral curriculum for both math and science. CCSS is therefore so much smaller and yet, the discussions and consultations are wider and deeper in participation. When the draft of CCSS was made public back in March 2010, nearly 10,000 people provided feedback (half were K-12 teachers). And after almost three years, the discussion continues. Recently, the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, with support from the Hewlett Foun…

School's Out for Summer

Well we got no choice all the girls and boys
Makin' all that noise 'cause they found new toys
Well we can't salute ya, can't find a flag, if that don't suit ya that's a drag
School's out for summer, school's out forever, school's been blown to pieces
No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks
Well we got no class and we got no principals and we got no innocence
We can't even think of a word that rhymes
School's out for summer, school's out forever, my school's been blown to pieces
No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks
Out for summer, out till fall, we might not come back at all
School's out forever, school's out for summer
School's out with fever school's out completely
This is Alice Cooper's song. From Wikipedia:
Cooper has said he was inspired to write the song when answering the question, "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?". Coo…

Philippines: Among Top Five Countries for Number of Out-of-School Children

Based on a recent report from UNESCO's Institute for Statistics more than 57 million children are denied the right to primary education. Nigeria tops the list with 10.5 million out-of-school children. The top five countries are: Nigeria (10.5 million); Pakistan (5.1 million); Ethiopia (2.4 million); India (2.3 million) and the Philippines (1.5 million). The following dynamic map of Southeast Asia shows where the Philippines currently stands compared to its neighbors:

Out of school data for the other countries in the region are as follows: Thailand (611,000); Lao (23,000); Cambodia (73,000); Vietnam (121,000); Indonesia (236,000).

False Dichotomies in Education

We have heard the debate on content versus higher order thinking. Pause for a moment and ask if a person can really exhibit thinking at any level without content. This is really a false dichotomy. Thinking and content go hand in hand. This brings me back to a classic paper written by Hung-Hsi Wu, professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of California in Berkeley. Wu's paper is entitled "Basic Skills Versus Conceptual Understanding: A Bogus Dichotomy in Mathematics Education". Here are excerpts from this paper:

Looking back at a previous post in this blog, "Making Sense Out of Numbers: Math Common Core", one can appreciate better the following:
The Mathematics Common Core provides specific content and practices, yet it allows for teachers to do the final finishing touch so that it will be effectively implemented inside the classroom. Is this for real? Barry Garelick wrote in the Atlantic back in November of last year the following article, "A New …

Scientific Theories Explain

After I finished college, I taught Chemistry to non science majors at the Ateneo. Unlike other lecturers, I did not choose to use a textbook specific for students that are not majoring in the sciences. Instead, I used the textbook that I had when I was taking first year Chemistry. I taught for two years and I did learn a lot about Chemistry during those couple of years. Teaching was quite different from just me sitting in one of the chairs inside the classroom as a student. I actually had to know the stuff that I was about to teach.

It is no wonder that some think that teaching is one of the effective ways to learn. Having the obligation to explain somehow forces a mind to understand. After all, one can not explain something one does not comprehend. In science, however, explanations are not really provided as options. A correct understanding of the nature of science leads us to a conclusion that a lot of people probably take for granted. In science, theories are the explanations.


Philippine Education Asian Laggard

"Philippine Education Asian Laggard" is the title of a news article in the Manila Standard June 11 issue. The article laments:
The country’s top five universities managed to be included in the top 300 schools in Asia but fared poorly against many educational institutions in other Asian countries.  The University of the Philippines improved to 67th place in 2013 from 68th place in 2012, but Ateneo de Manila University dropped 23 places from 86th in 2012 to 109th in 2013.  The University of Santo Tomas fell two places from 148th in 2012 to 150th in 2013.  De La Salle University placed 151st in 2013 ranking, down from 142nd in 2012.  The University of Southeastern Philippines, a Cebu (sic)-based institution established in 1927 offering Arts and Engineering courses, stayed at 251st rank. Apparently, the head of the research behind the rankings notes that the Philippines is falling behind Korea, Hong Kong, China and Singapore. This is, however, not the complete story. The Philip…

"There's More to Reading than Meets the Eye"

I am sure a lot of people can read the posts in this blog. Almost everyone can decode the Latin alphabet. Understanding what each post in this blog says, however, is a different story. "There's More to Reading than Meets the Eye."

We have heard this goal: Every child a reader by the end of Grade 3. Grade 3 is about 8-10 years in age. It is also the same time that a child must have learned how to add and subtract. Philippine president Aquino is even more ambitious. He wants every child to be a reader by first grade. Reading and arithmetic are the very first steps in learning. These skills are in fact necessary for learning. Information and new knowledge is obtained via reading. The higher math skills are likewise dependent on the basic number operations. Failure or delay in acquiring these skills presents substantial challenges in the upper years of education. Remediation is not only loss of time, but also missed opportunities. With the current understanding of how the b…

GMA News TV launches new original series on education: Titser 


More Shortages Afflict Public School System Despite DepEd Claims

“Twenty six years after our Constitution mandated free high school education, the government has not been able to make high school accessible to a substantial number of Filipino children.” – ACT Teachers’ Party Rep. Antonio Tinio

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL 7 June 2013

MANILA – Lack of books, chairs, water and toilet facilities once again greeted public school students of school year 2013-2014. While the Department of Education said that the shortages are being addressed for this year, recent reports however belied this. DepEd Assistant Secretary for Planning Jesus Mateo said shortages in textbooks and classroom seats have been addressed since last year with an expected 1:1 student-textbook and student-seat ratio this year.

But several reports showed schools where classrooms are jam-packed with students; some schools have make-shift classrooms and a class without chairs where students sat on the floor. ACT Teachers’ Party Rep. Antonio Tinio visited schools in Quezon City and fo…