Posts

Showing posts from 2021

We All Must Choose Wisely

Image
Educating children is an important obligation of society. As President Joe Biden states in his inaugural speech, "Each of us has a duty and responsibility to defend the truth and defeat the lies". Education is a choice between lies and truth. This week, this choice has been laid before us. One side talks about White Supremacy. The other talks about a "a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother" who "can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one". Education is about finding who we are. Education must tell us the realities of the past and the truth that we are still striving, growing and learning. We all must choose wisely.  One side rewrites history while the other simply tells. The 1776 report, now rightly abandoned by President Biden, is not intended for cultivating a better education for our children. Its main purpose is to derail our path to that more perfect union we all aspire. The following excerp

Philippines' Poor Performance in Math and Science Is Much More Than Just A Language Problem

Image
With the dismal performance of students in the Philippines in the 2019 TIMSS, it is timely to reflect on why basic education in the Philippines is failing. Surely,  there are factors  that correlate with low scores in math and science. These are parental education, number of books available at home, availability of computers and internet, and the general attitude of students toward mathematics. These factors indeed require an Herculean effort to overcome for any educational system. Developing skills in math and science requires support from home, but this cannot be used as an excuse for the failure of a school system. One must not disregard, for instance, the fact that teachers in the Philippines themselves do not do well in exams in mathematics . There is likewise a tendency to find fault in the testing itself. Language is one excuse. When reasons are too obvious, it is not really helpful to look further. When students from the Philippines took the exam in their language, they actuall

"I Still Have A Dream": Equity In Education

Image
"I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream." These were words spoken in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. At that moment, after about a hundred years after emancipation, we were all made aware that the bank of justice was way behind schedule as Black Americans were still "sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination" .  But more than fifty years after those words were spoken, the dream had remained elusive. Aspirations come early in life. Parents wish nothing but the best for their children. Yet, we continue to charter the course of so many children based on their skin color or socio-economic status. Martin Luther King's dream can never be achieved without equity in education.  Above copied from History More than a year ago, a panel in New York City took the bold step of recommending that advanced education programs, such as those designed for "gifted" or "talented" studen

Opinions Are Not Facts and Lies Are Not Opinions

Image
We have so much lessons to learn during these past couple of months. So many things appear unprecedented yet bear chilling echoes from the past. We have seen insurrections before. We have witnessed fascism and racism. The reason why these evils prevail is our abandonment of truth. Critical thinking is not lacking because of a dearth in human knowledge. Critical thinking is lacking because of widespread deception. We already have inherent biases, choosing only what we like to believe. Combine this with lies and we have a toxic medium of misinformation. Last night, I gave my 11-year old daughter an opportunity to watch NEWSMAX. NEWSMAX is currently rated as unreliable with the following characteristics: "Selective or Incomplete Story, Unfair Persuasion, Propaganda". The topic that was being discussed was a tweet made by the National Rifle Association (NRA) stating that President-elect Biden was going to destroy the 2nd Amendment. My daughter, being young, is not familiar with t

There Is No Easy Solution

Image
It takes about 6 full days of walking to go from Cairo to Jerusalem, yet the book of Exodus talks about forty years in the desert. That means someone in the early teens reaches the promised land in middle age. Forty years can easily mean a generation, illustrating perhaps what it takes for a society's deliverance. There is apparently no shortcut. Fast forward to the twenty first century, forty years seem too short as we continue to display horrors of the past without any remorse, only with pride and a misguided certitude. "Arbeit macht frei" (Work brings freedom), the slogan for Camp Auschwitz adorns the shirts of an individual referred to as one of the "patriots" and "wonderful people" by President Donald Trump.  Above copied from Twitter "It's just a great honor to have this kind of crowd and to be before you and hundreds of thousands of American patriots who are committed to the honesty of our elections and the integrity of our glorious Rep

We Must Not Propagandize to Our Children

Image
My children watched the horrific acts yesterday at the United States Capitol. This past summer, both of my children participated in a "Black Lives Matter" protest rally in our little town of Annandale, a few miles away from Washington, DC. Today, my daughter shared with me a note she received from one of her former teachers in grade school, telling her that Americans should a learn a thing or two from our family. I am tempted to tell my daughter that Black grief is not a threat and White rage is not sacred. This morning, my daughter's class spend time discussing yesterday's events in social studies. According to her, some of her classmates equate the various "Black Lives Matter" protests with yesterday's insurrection. We are asking last summer that our society begins to respect and treat Blacks. Yesterday, people are asking to destroy our democracy. There is a huge difference. Here is an advice from a child psychologis t, Janine Domingues  Domingues adds

Opening Schools in Fairfax County

Image
The county intends to use three indicators in deciding whether schools will open or remain virtual in the near future. These indicators are: (1) The number of new cases per 100,000 residents, (2) The percentage test positivity, and (3) Self-assessments conducted by safety teams on five mitigation strategies. These strategies are: Proper use of masks or face coverings; Social distancing; Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; Cleaning and disinfection; and Contact tracing in collaboration with the health department. Schools cannot strongly rely on mitigation strategies for the simple reason that unlike hotels, restaurants or amusement parks, students and teachers are expected to be inside confined buildings for tens of hours per week, week after week. Moreover, a vaccine is already on the way and waiting for all teachers and staff to be vaccinated is perhaps no longer than the past four months already spent virtually. The two objective indicators, cases and positivity, are currently ex