A Plea to President Duterte: "Padi Mayor, Please Suspend K to 12"

The next president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has recently announced a "change of heart". He now apparently supports DepEd's K to 12. He originally opposed the new curriculum based on his perception that the government is ill prepared for the new basic education program. In addition, he thought the additional years in high school should be made optional. At the moment, the government is not really equipped to provide K to 12. Nearly half of the schools offering grade 11 in 2016 are private. And senior high school is part of compulsory education in the Philippines. Clearly, nothing has changed to reverse the previous misgivings of the incoming president. But apparently, Duterte has changed his mind because DepEd simply has used the old argument that the Philippines is being left behind in education.

Above copied from the Philippine Star
This piece of news, of course, brings profound sadness to those who are opposed to DepEd's K to 12.

The following is a post on Facebook by Cheryl Daytec-YaƱgot:

Dear President -elect Duterte, if there is something good that we saw in your meeting with DepEd officials, it is the fact that you listen. You already made a stand opposed to K to 12 but after you sat down with DepEd officials, you changed your mind. You are now for K to 12. Whether you are for K to 12, the concept, or for the K to 12 of Bro. Armin Luistro, it is not clear from your pronouncements.
Mr. President, there are six petitions now pending before the Supreme Court questioning Bro. Luistro's ill-concocted K to 12. I am sure the petitioners see as you do the need to strengthen Philippine basic education whether through a K to 12 program or something else. But Luistro's version does not accomplish this. It was hastily planned (or unplanned) and imposed on the public. Because there was no good plan for it, the schools merely stretched the 4-year high school curriculum so that it will be taught for six years. Whether Luistro will admit it or not, DepEd is not ready. Grade 11 will be offered in public high schools this June or July but buildings for it are still far from finished. And did you see some of the supposedly K to 12-ready books? They miseducate children. One book claims that Aetas are the people in the Mt. Province and Ibanags and Ivatans are in Central Luzon. One book teaches that the Banaue Rice Terraces are found in Baguio City, Benguet. Other teaching materials are equally reeking with ignorance to be passed on to children.
Mr. President, we filed the third petition on behalf of parents and children. We questioned how a DepEd Order addressed to a few individuals could change our education system overnight in 2012. We questioned why RA 10533 signed by Pres Aquino in 2013 was not the same bill passed by Congress. (There was cheating, in short.) The law signed by PNoy leaves it to the private sector to shape the curriculum. There are forces behind K to 12 and these are the private school owners who want to deliver the education service to their control. Who went to you to lobby? In most likelihood, these are private school owners and their agents in DepEd like Luistro.
More than 76,000 teachers stand to lose their jobs because of K to 12 which is based on a mere Dep Ed Order and legitimized by RA 10533 passed in violation of the constitutional rules on legislation. There are more issues aside from unemployment. We fear that the K to 12 program with all its constitutional infirmities will privatize education. Please suspend its implementation until all kinks shall have been ironed out. We want your administration to succeed. Please study the program carefully before it becomes your headache.

And here is another post from Rene Luis Tadle:

As quoted, President elect Duterte said “I was against it on the first day it was being implemented, but the bright guys sa Department of Education came to see me and explained to me how we are failing behind our neighbors” This is the same argument trumpeted by DEP-Ed to support the full implementation of K-12 for a number of years now. The officials of Dep-ED advanced the same when they met President Duterte. Unfortunately, Dr. Abraham Felipe, has debunked this argument as early as 2012, using more objective data. The bright guys from Dep-Ed are not so "bright" after all. Our dear President Duterte, please reconsider your decision. A more objective, scientific and evidenced-based justification will show you that K-12 is not good for our country at this time.

Tadle included in his above post a link to a 2012 article posted on the blog of late Joe Padre, a strong advocate of mother-tongue based multilingual  education, which enumerates why a former DepEd official, Abraham Felipe, is opposed to K to 12. Below is one of the reasons given by Felipe:
The argument for K+12 is not rational. Those in favor of K+12 say that the existing basic education system produces inferior students. Proof: the TIMMS results. The TIMMS reported in an international comparison that Filipino Grade 4 pupils were among the worst of Grade 4 pupils from some forty (40) other countries; and so with Filipino second year high school students when compared with their equivalent grade levels (i.e., grade 8). The K+12 conclusion: lengthen the Philippine system to twelve (12) years instead of the present ten (10). The main purpose of K+12 is to make our basic education competitive.
This conclusion looks rational but is really not. The rational reaction would be to improve Grade 4 and the second year of high school if we want them competitive. If after lengthening our system to twelve (12) it is again found that our 12thgrade is not comparable to the others’ 12th grade, will it be rational to lengthen our system some more?
President Duterte needs to hear from both sides, not just from the "bright guys at the Department of Education". In fact, it is important that Duterte considers this comment from Flor Lacanilao (This is a repost of a previous article on this blog):

A critique of some commentaries on the Philippine K-12 program
By Dr. Flor Lacanilao

Note that in my critiques below, the comments of scientists (1 to 3) on the Philippine K-12 program are supported by properly published studies or authorities, whereas those by nonscientists (4 to 8 ) are not.

Note further that the nonscientist authors and cited authorities include prominent people in education, and that these nonscientist authors and cited authorities enjoy wide media coverage. I think this situation explains the present state of Philippine education.  [My comments are in brackets]

A. Views of Filipino academic scientists [By definition, academic scientists are defined as those who have made a major contribution or contributions to one’s field as shown by publications in peer-reviewed international journals; that is, in journals covered in Science Citation Index (SCI) or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). You can find that out with Google Scholar.]

1. The basic education system of the Philippines faces two major problems: (1) high dropout rates in primary and secondary schools, and (2) lack of mastery of specific skills and content as reflected in poor performance in standard tests for both Grade IV and Grade VIII (2nd year high school) students. Unfortunately, the proposed K+12 curriculum does not directly address these problems. Click this link to read the full text: “First things first: A commentary on K+12”

2. The Philippines has embarked on an enormous P150-billion project—the K to 12—that is set to add as part of the basic education a mandatory kindergarten and an additional two years to the high school. The mandatory kindergarten is not contentious because there is empirical evidence that it does improve learning outcomes. It is the learning outcomes that should concern us here. I still have to see evidence (perhaps I did not look hard enough) that the additional two years of high school will improve learning performance. Click this link to read the full text: “K to 12: Wasteland”

3. The controversial K-12 (kindergarten to grade 12) is not really controversial. All commentaries I have read by Filipino academic scientists are not in favor of the new K-12 program (For example, Science and K+12Philippine Daily Inquirer, 6 Feb 2012). On the other hand, Filipino authors supporting it are not natural or social scientists (without valid publications or properly published work), regardless of their position (e.g., Group launches program to save RP educationPhilippine Daily Inquirer, 28 Jan 2010). Click this link to read the full text: “K+12 most likely to fail”

B. Views of nonscientist Filipino educators and cited authors  [By definition, nonscientist Filipino educators and cited authors are those without any major contribution to one’s field as shown by lack of publications in peer-reviewed international journals; that is, in journals covered in Science Citation Index (SCI) or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). You can check this with Google Scholar.]

4. The central feature of the K to 12 Program is the upgrading of the basic education curriculum to ensure that learners acquire the relevant knowledge and skills they will need to become productive members of society… With the participation of the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the program has the capability of offering professionally designed classes and apprenticeships in sports, the arts, middle-level skills, entrepreneurship, and applied math and sciences. [Note that officials of CHED and TESDA are not academic scientists.] Click this link to read the full text: “The K to 12 curriculum: Our first step to recovery”

5. Meanwhile, Brother Armin remains upbeat, saying “Genuine reform needs at least a generation to take root. We’ll just have to be happy with being part of planting the seed.” [Commentaries by academic scientists, however, show that this planted seed will either not grow or has been planted in infertile soil.] Click this link to read the full text: “Building a literate society”

6. The delay (referring to the implementation of the K-12 system) has already caused considerable damage. The truncated basic education cycle exerted a perverse effect on the entire educational system… Filipino students, while studying more, were learning less because they were not getting enough time to master basic concepts. [The above claims, however, are not supported by properly published studies or authors.] Click this link to read the full text: “Returns on higher education”

7. Adding two years to the present 10-year basic education cycle is “an absolutely essential reform” to put the country’s public education system at par with the rest of the world, an international education expert said on Wednesday… “I actually don’t see how people can disagree with it,” said Shaeffer before an audience of top Philippine education officials and representatives from various schools.
[This so-called international expert has only 2 SSCI published paper; none in SCI. He did not cite any properly published study or author, just like others who have made commentaries supporting the Philippine K-12.] Click this link to read the full text: “K+12 program ‘absolutely essential,’ says expert”

8. Department Order No. 74, issued in 2009, institutionalized mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTBMLE) as a fundamental policy in our formal and non-formal education… the Department of Education has decided to use the L1 as medium of instruction in all kindergarten and Grade 1 classes nationwide effective June 2012 under the new K-12 curriculum… This is precisely what the 2nd Philippine Conference-Workshop on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education aims to inculcate in us…

The keynote speakers are international literacy consultant Dr. Kimmo Kosonen and our very own Valenzuela City Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo.
 [The keynote speaker has only 2 SSCI and no SCI published papers; the other speaker has none. See also commentary 1.] Click this link to read the full text: “A sense of where we are”

Dr. Flor Lacanilao obtained both his BS and MS in Zoology from the University of the Philippines in Diliman and his PhD, with specialization in comparative endocrinology, from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as professor and chairman of the Zoology Department at UP Diliman and chancellor of UP Visayas. He made pioneering discoveries in neuroendocrinology and led the research group that achieved the first spontaneous breeding of milkfish in captivity.

Duterte needs to listen to people who have a well established record in their field....