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.
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…
In the General Chemistry class that I teach there is homework. I do find that homework is one place where technology can really help. My class currently subscribes to Sapling Learning. For each chapter, there is a set of about 20 problems and students generally have a week to finish these problems. The platform allows me to monitor each student's progress and anticipate difficulties students may be facing with the course material. The problems are not repetitive as each one has been chosen to focus on an important aspect or point within the chapter. The homework also offers an interactive learning experience as it provides hints and explanations. This can indeed benefit learning. After all, educational psychologists have demonstrated that practice problem solving and distributed practice are the most effective learning techniques.
For homework to be effective, it has to be done right. For instance, when students try to finish their homework an hour before the deadline, it defeats…
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…