A blog that tackles issues on basic education (in the Philippines and the United States) including early childhood education, the teaching profession, math and science education, medium of instruction, poverty, and the role of research and higher education.
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"You're a Teacher, What a Waste!"
"“...You graduated from a very good university, and you’re in a public school?” “What a waste!...”...Then I realized, it’s not about my decision to be a public school teacher. It’s about what people think of our public schools. If our public schools were well run, people won’t be telling me those things." These are the words of Sabrina Ongkiko, an alumnus of Ateneo de Manila University who decided to teach in a school where a teacher's socks and shoes can be easily drenched when it rains because of leaky roofs. Sabrina correctly sums up one of the gravest ills of public basic education. Unfortunately, we are always quick to point our blaming fingers on teachers when the missteps are really from the top, education policy makers and the government.
There are isolated bright spots like the story of Sabrina. Unfortunately, the image of teaching in a public school has been so tarnished that these spots can be easily overwhelmed by the darkness that currently engulfs Philippine schools. Seeing what is happening in New York State makes one envious. A paper recently published in the journal Educational Researcher shows that individuals entering the teaching profession are increasingly coming from the top-performing students.
The turnaround is truly remarkable and it starts at the turn of the century. And from 2006-2010, the proportion of teachers coming from the upper third in terms of SAT scores is now about to reach 50 percent. What is more remarkable however is the fact that schools serving a larger number of students from poor families are the chosen destinations of these promising new teachers as seen in the following figure:
Of course, there still remains plenty of room for improvement. As demonstrated in the above figure, schools with the highest poverty are still behind other schools in terms of SAT scores of the teachers. The richest schools still have the highest combined SAT score among the teachers. But the trend is nonetheless encouraging. Perhaps, the attitude is indeed turning around and the image of the teaching profession is slowly improving.
Someday, this may likewise happen in the Philippine schools. But that day will only arrive when those who are causing great damage to basic education are no longer drawing policies and curriculum.
TANONG: ANO ANG KTO12 PROGRAM? SAGOT: Ang Kto12 Program ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas ay tumutukoy sa pagkakaroon ng mandatory o required na kindergarten at karagdagang 2 taon sa dating 10-year Basic Education Cycle. Kung noon, pagkatapos ng anim na taon sa elementarya at apat na taon sa hayskul (kabuuang 10 taon) ay maaari nang makapagkolehiyo ang mga estudyante. Sa ilalim ng Kto12, bago makapagkolehiyo, kailangan pa nilang dumaan sa karagdagang 2 taon pagkatapos ng apat na taong hayskul. Sa bagong sistema, tinatawag na senior high school o junior college ang karagdagang 2 tao…
People have strong opinions about almost anything and the issue of education is no exception. How these opinions have been formed needs to be examined. This is what good research does. It informs and guides. A myriad of factors influence education and oftentimes, these factors are not independent from each other. Factors interact, sometimes these add, and other times, these subtract. General notions therefore need to be carefully drawn. Writing articles on education can also be quite challenging. When problems in basic education involve an inability to think critically, it is difficult to reach the audience and convey the correct message. Oftentimes, sarcasm is lost so such style of writing needs to be avoided. For people who are convinced of their wisdom and understanding of how education works, profound messages from basic research can be often easily lost.
There is information to be gained from data. Tests in schools can be informative. Scores of students provide a quick glimpse of the current state of education. Thus, it is useful to have these numbers. These numbers may not tell everything in detail with high accuracy. Nevertheless, test results allow for a useful perspective. The National Achievement Test administered by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines, a set of standardized tests addressing the major subjects taught in school, is an example. These tests are given to Grade 3 where students are assessed in both English and Filipino (These two subjects comprise two thirds of the exam) and Math and Science (These two account for the remaining one third). A different set of tests is given to Grade 6 pupils where each of the following 5 subjects is assigned 40 items: (Science, Math, English, Filipino and Social Studies). Another set is administered to fourth year high school students (This is currently the last year…