3-Day School Week for Philippine Public Schools
|Above captured from Tory Zarate de Leon Facebook page|
The above is simply a specific instance of the inconsistency of the Philippine government in running its basic education program. The K+12 curriculum is one big example. Philippine students, according to various assessments, are failing in the early years of schooling yet the K+12 curriculum adds two years at the end of high school, completely missing the real problem. The fact that there are serious shortages in education resources should have precluded even a mere suggestion of adding years to basic education. To drive this message, the following image may help:
A statement from the national vice chair of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Joselyn Martinez captures the predicament of the public school system in the Philippines: "These schemes will not solve the problem at all. What they need to do is simple and basic – add permanent items for teachers, construct additional classrooms and facilities and quit from making cheap gimmickry and rhetoric.” There are people who favor reforms such as K+12 because they sincerely believe that addressing the real problems of schools like shortages in resources is like "throwing good money after bad". This is a highly erroneous analogy. Public school education is all most people have. The public school system is not like a bad investment one could drop. It is not the same as someone buying a car and finding out that it needs an overhaul. In such a case, one can ask whether it is worth wasting additional money after wasting money once. For basic education, ignoring the real problems only leads to making the problems worse.
Research is clear on what factors are important in education: poverty and teachers. The other factors are simply noise. Instructional hours or school schedules are among these factors. How long a student studies in a classroom can be consequential but what matters more is how that time is spent inside the classroom. There are schools in the United States that employ 4-day school weeks. Please take note that these are 4 days in a week, not three. Although scant, there is some research on how a 4-day school week affects learning. Here are the few studies:
|Does shortening the school week impact student performance?|
|The Four-Day School Week: Nine Years Later|
|A Review of the Evidence of the Four-Day School Week|
There may be a reasonable debate for a four-day school week. Fairfax county has a four and a half day school week. The free half day is used by teachers to plan their lessons and meet with colleagues to discuss students. This may be a good reason for shortening instructional hours.
The three-day school week, on the other hand, has been recently used in London to bring attention to a looming shortage in classrooms:
|The Telegraph September 4, 2013|
|Above captured from photo tweet made by Benjie Valbuena -ACT|
The memo states,
"In its desire to promote quality education in all public schools, and provide a conducive learning environment, the Division of City Schools, Caloocan will implement the Three (3) Days School Week this School Year 2014-2015 in public elementary and secondary schols in Caloocan."