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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Equity: One Issue Fairfax County Public Schools Could Focus On
Public education is first and foremost, for the common good. Schools matter to all of us. But achieving the common good requires equity. It is only in a diverse and inclusive community can we truly achieve equity. Thus, in this coming election of members for the board of Fairfax County Public Schools, one issue could easily sum up a campaign for any candidate: Advancing equity in our schools. I think this can cover all the challenges the county currently faces. We must provide excellent opportunities for learning to all children regardless of family income, parent educational attainment, race, and gender. Anything less than equal opportunities is unacceptable. Hindrances to equity unfortunately abound for it is only expected that each and everyone of us to have the knee-jerk reaction of "What about us?" Thus, in some ironic fashion, pushing for equity can divide us.
The politics of division is especially useful in a democratic society where the majority wins and lands in control. A shrewd politician can win by dividing society and simply ensuring that the larger fraction is on his or her side. Divisions can be easily spawned by appealing to our beliefs and prejudices. Divisions can be created by simply appealing to how we identify ourselves. A school board candidate in my district subscribes to this playbook. The Annandale Blog describes Tom Pafford as "laser-focused on one issue".
If Tom Pafford is running for a position in my native country, the Philippines, he may actually win. The Philippines is also trying to legislate on matters that involve gender identity. In these discussions, the question of whether bathrooms should be assigned according to gender identity also shows up. There is always this concern that privacy can be violated or sexual assault could happen. Toilets inside schools, I hope, have stalls so there is really no problem with privacy and those that do not have separate stalls are for urinals. And for assault, the transgender already has the greater risk especially with an extremely prejudicial society. Therefore, the arguments against transgenders having the right to use the toilet of their choice really have no basis.
Equity trumps this issue. It is clear that every children regardless of gender identity should be provided an environment that is respectful and safe so that every child can have the opportunity to learn. It is true that this coming election can be distilled in one issue but it is not about denying transgenders a safe and respectful school climate. Pafford does focus on one issue but his goal is to divide us and take advantage of our biases and beliefs. And it can work especially if equity begins to look like a threat to our beliefs and our identity.
The other candidate, Ricardy Anderson, embraces equity.
Congestion means overcrowding. In simple terms, there is too much in too little space or time. To avoid congestion one can either increase space or time, or reduce whatever is taking space or time. In introducing K to 12 to the Philippines, the Department of Education made the claim, "...the sad state of basic education can be partly attributed to the congested basic education curriculum." A closer examination of DepEd's K to 12, however, reveals not a decongestion, but a reduction of instructional hours across the first ten years of education.
Here are the changes for elementary school:
There is a reduction in both languages and mathematics of about 10 percent in instructional time. Below are the changes in secondary school:
Here, the decrease in instructional hours is even greater. Science, for instance suffers a 33 percent reduction. Adding two years to basic education may indeed look good on paper as a way of decongesting the curriculum. However, if the first ten yea…
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…
With the new K to 12 curriculum in the Philippines, various tracks are now offered in the last two years of basic education. The various options available obviously make it possible for students to find themselves later unprepared for the courses they decide to take in college. A student, for instance, who finishes the accounting business management (ABM) strand in the senior high school academic track, is now required to take additional courses if the student chooses to enroll in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) major in college. These additional courses which are now called "bridging programs" are either taken during the first year of college or over several weeks in the summer before college starts.
There are bridging programs in the United States, but these are different from the ones that are now appearing in colleges in the Philippines. In Coldwater High School in Michigan, for example, the "bridging program" is an option for students…