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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Schools Need Adults
"For every seven adults a neighborhood adds, one fewer young person leaves school", Jonathan F. Zaff and Thomas Malone conclude in their paper, "Who’s Minding the Neighborhood?". It is a correlation they find after comparing a neighborhood's school dropout rate and the adult to youth ratio. This correlation is not surprising since children generally need both support and guidance. Developing nations like the Philippines currently have a "young population". A young population of course correlates with serious challenges in basic education as resources, teachers, and other necessary inputs are stretched to their limits. What is remarkable is such correlation is still found at a more granular level.
Above are maps for Kansas City and its suburbs. The first map is colored according to the percentage of young people not enrolled in school and not employed. Reddish brown and red are for 15 percent and higher while yellow is for under 5 percent. The second map, likewise of the same region, is colored according to the adults to youth ratio. The darker shades of blue are for districts that have 4 or more adults per youth. Comparing these two maps, it is obvious that dark colored regions do not overlap. Thus, at this level, one can still easily see the correlation between having less adults per youth and the percentage of out-of-school youth.
These vividly bring before our eyes one of the major challenges basic education faces in developing countries like the Philippines. Drawing higher standards for learning, revising curriculum, adding years to basic education, administering standardized tests, and adopting merit pays for teachers are among the favorite means by which school systems try to improve education. Unfortunately, all of these measures evidently do not address the problem of simply not having enough the support or guidance our children need because there are too many children per adult.
This is simply one of the many instances that plainly demonstrate that major challenges education systems face are often outside the school.
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.
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…
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…