Thursday, June 1, 2006

Flagrant Violation of the Non-Establishment Clause In the Recongested Basic Education Curriculum

BRAVO! to brave FE HIDALGO for sticking to her guns about the SHORTAGE in classrooms.
But WHY is there a shortage of school buildings and classrooms in the Public Schools? It may have something to do with the way the Department of Education divvies up its budget allocation, projected in 2006 to be around P120 billion pesos. Here is data from the Congress Analysis of the President's 2006 budget (Table 8.7 page 93 Deped Budget By Object of Expenditure). The shortage is due to both the preponderance of the "personal services" allocation (salaries) and the fact that instead of spending P2 Billion on school buildings as it did in 2004 (when the elections were nigh), the administration spent only P1 Billion in 2005 and plans to spend the same paltry sum in 2006 to close the "classroom gap" -- over the calculation of which there seems to have been an embarrassing incident at yesterday's Cabinet meeting when OIC Fe Hidalgo led off the media-covered meeting with an announcement that there would be shortage in class rooms this year. But Deped has more serious problems both in the actual results being achieved by the public educational enterprise and of a Constitutional nature that more than anything, proves the rot in the public school system.

The Department of Education (DEPED) has published the 2006 Basic Education Curriculum for Elementary Schools here as a set of links:

1). English
2). Science
3). Filipino
4). Edukasyong Pangtahanan at Pangkabuhayan
5). Mathematics
Lesson Guides for Mathematics
- Mathemetics I
- Mathematics II
- Mathematics III
- Mathematics IV
- Mathemetics V
- Mathematics VI
6). Makabayan

7).Edukasyong Pagpapakatao
- PELC - Kapayapaan
- PELC - Paggalang
- PELC - Pagmamahal 1
- PELC - Pagmamahal (Disiplina)
- PELC - Pagmamalasakit sa Kapwa
- PELC - Pananampalataya
- PELC - Pinagkukunang Yaman (Pagtitipid)
- PELC - Katotohanan
- PELC - Pangkabuhayan
- PELC - Kalusugan
- PELC - Saloobin

Along with the Bureau of Secondary Education Primer 2006 BEC is an all important document that affects everything about the P120 billion pesos or so that Deped will spend on the Basic Education Sector, from the billion-peso School Building Program to the hiring and training of new and old teachers. Adding in the tertiary or college level under CHED, the education sector is slated to get about 150 billion pesos under the 2006 National Budget, the biggest allocation after debt service.

How many subjects are taught in public elementary schools, how much time per day is spent on each one, and what is expected of each student at end of each grade level? You should be able to answer all three questions after studying the above documents.

The 2006 Basic Education Curriculum determines:

(1) what subjects will be taught to the nearly 18 million grade school and high school students in the ten years of the Philippine public school system;

(2) how much time is allotted to each subject per school day; and

(3) what the expected learning outcomes are -- e.g., the Philippine Elementary Learning Competencies (PELC) -- at the end of each of the ten years that a typical student spends in the basic education system (Grades 1-6 and High School 1,2,3,4)

The reason the Curriculum is so critical is not merely academic or philosophical. The BEC determines how the human and material resources of Deped are to be allocated for each subject area, and therefore is highly charged with politics and turf wars. It also dictates content which textbook publishers, teachers, planners and administrators must incorporate into their work and which the students must then learn.

The biggest change I've noticed from just a few years ago is the RECONGESTION of the curriculum with a plethora of subjects and thus plantilla positions. Just perusing the link list above, one can already get the impression that the core academic subjects of English, Pilipino, Math and Science, are joined by a festooned flotilla of other subject areas. Look for example at the innocent-looking entry called Makabayan (#6 in the BEC). Makabayan is actually made up of many sub-subjects: Sibika at Kultura; Heograpiya, Kasaysayan, Sining, Musika, Home Economics, and P.E. ("physical culture and sports").

And what might you ask, would PELC be, with its multifarious entries dominating the "Character Education" subject area at #7 in the BEC? The acronym stands for "Philippine Elementary Learning Competencies" and is a tabular listing of what the system expects students to have learned at each grade level.

But here now is my translation into English of one of the modules listed above as PELC- Pananampalataya (Faith) one of the "Character Education" modules of "expected outcomes" under the 2006 Basic Education Curriculum.
Character Education
Basic Value: Faith
Related Value: Belief in God
Expected Fruit: Can show the ways of knowing God.

First Grade: Belief in the Lord God ("Panginoong Diyos")

1. Can show belief and faith in God who created everything in the world.
1.1 Can show love for God
- Goes to places of worship.
- Follows religious activities
- Obeys parents and elders
- Gives value to all things created by God

Second Grade: Respect For Places of Worship ("Pook Sambahan")
1. Accepts that places of prayer and the house of God are holy places.
1.1 Respects places of worship.
- Wears proper clothing in places of worship.
- Avoids making noise in places of worship.
- Avoids playing and running in such places.
1.2 Avoids abusive acts in places of worship.
- Avoids eating in places of worship.
- Avoids writing on walls and benches.
- Avoids littering in places of prayer.

Third Grade: Respect For Beliefs and Religion of Others
1. Accepts that people have their own religious beliefs.
1.1 Shows respect for the religious rights of others.
- Values beliefs and religious faith of others.
- Respect for places of worship of other religions.
1.2 Recognizes different forms of religion.
Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, etc.)

Fourth Grade: Valuing the Grace of God
1. Appreciates the beneficial gifts and graces of God.
1.1 Takes care of God's physical, mental and spiritual gifts.
- Acceptance of and gratitude for all God's gifts.
- Wise use of all God-given graces.
- Enrich and build on the gifts of the Almighty.
1.2 Uses God-given talents and abilities in a meaningful way.
- Participates in Church activities and projects.
- Voluntarily offers help to anyone in need.

Fifth Grade: Living By One's Faith
1. Brings to life values and lessons from one's own faith.
1.1 Fulfills obligations and duties to one's own religion.
- Attends service on the day set by one's own religion.
- Obedience to the orders of one's own religion.
1.2 Avoids what is forbidden by one's own religion.
- Exploitation of others.
- Addiction to vices, etcetera.

Grade Six: Giving Value to Godly Works ("Paghahalaga sa Gawaing Maka-Diyos")
1. Gives value to Godly works.
1.1 Displays Godly works according to one's own beliefs.
- Donating to charity.
- Fasting and abstinence.
1.2 Obeys the Golden Rule: Don't do unto others what you would not have others do unto you.
- Badmouthing others.
- Cheating.
- Stealing.
- Cursing.
In my opinion, this is a flagrant and obvious violation of Freedom of Religion as enshrined in the Bill of Rights. It is an atrocious contradiction of the principle of Separation of Church and State which is thereby violated by the the Basic Education Curriculum. How more clearly and succinctly can the Constitution state it than the following --
(Bill of Rights, 1987 Constitution) Art III Section 5: No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.
I have never seen a more brazen and comprehensive example of how to violate Freedom of Religion by "respecting an establishment of religion" than the PELC on Faith. The desired learning outcome at Grade One is that every child shall believe in God by the end of his or her first tender year in public school, and can even "show love" for such Deity. By Grade Six, according to the PELC on Faith, it is expected that those about to go into high school are donating alms to charity, practicing fasting and abstinence ("pag-aayuno") along with the Golden Rule and engaging in "Godly works"! ("gawaing maka-Diyos") Such is the obviously religious nature, philosophy and methodology of the DEPED's Character Education program. This is NOT democracy. This is Filipino Talibanism! It's time to put that Gang of Four Hundred Thousand that runs public education out of business.

Although I certainly consider ecumenism to be a virtue, that is not what the Principle of Separation of Church and State or religious freedom mean. The government may neither promote nor prohibit the free exercise of religion, even for atheists. Thus, though this PELC bends over backwards to mention the dominant religions in the country, it leaves out many of them since an exhaustive listing is actually impossible. There is no mention of atheism, which is protected just as much as Opus Dei's undergarment fashion sense. This PELC certainly promotes "worship" and "faith" and thus is a glaring example of "respecting an establishment of religion."

It is quite obvious to me that whoever designs the PELC portion of the Basic Education Curriculum is probably a Roman Catholic who has no appreciation of the acute Constitutional issues that such an official enunciation represents. It doesn't take a lawyer to see that Deped should be sued for culpable violations of the Constitution for this. A Mason, an atheist, a Rizalista, a lumad or any citizen, even a member of one of those other religions mentioned in the PELC on Faith and Worship, should have the legal standing to sue Deped for grave abuse of discretion, if not outright violations of the Bill of Rights, for the so-called Philippine Elementary Learning Competencies in the 2006 BEC.

Ironically, Religion is already taught far better and perhaps more effectively in all the private religious schools, and without Constitutional infirmity. Public schools are not private schools. As essential components of the State, the Deped and its agencies and employees are strictly sworn to uphold the democratic Bill of Rights, and may neither promote nor prohibit religion of any and all kinds, including "non-religion" like atheism.

Thus the Curriculum is not only choking in futility with congestion, it poisons the democratic well. The curriculum designers risibly ignore the most fundamental principles for religious freedom for which this Republic stands and its heroes fought and died. And I haven't even gotten to the insane tenets of political, environmental and cultural correctness in the rest of BEC and PELC!

It really looks like things have gone from bad to worse over at Deped. And I continue to curse Raul Roco's name even as I continue to mourn the removal of the Science Subject in Grades 1 and 2 of the curriculum, from which it is still missing in 2006 BEC, I see, like two missing front teeth, since he knocked them out in 2001, in order to make room for Makabayan, with its hordes of part time teachers.

Looking on the bright side, Deped has seen the light and seen fit to call for a return to English language instruction to shore up Filipino competitiveness in overseas employment, as well as outsourcing industries like call centers. The Deped has received a P1.5 billion Special Purpose Fund to purchase English instructional materials and to train teachers in English. (I just hope they don't spend it on Roman Catholic Catechisms translated into English.) It finally dawns on them that all of that academically oriented but politically correct panitikan and balarila isn't exactly helping the millions of Filipinos that are forced to seek jobs overseas, or in the burgeoning call center industry where English proficiency is a premium as the race heats up with India, Singapore, Malaysia and even China.

2006 BEC not only violates the Bill of Rights, it is also a highly congested curriculum, multifaceted, multilayered, over-pomped-and-circumstanced -- as if it were written by a large committee of fresh PhDs in Education eckeck. But it runs contrary to the concrete recommendations of the international education community for countries to adopt streamlined curricula that concentrate on the basics, like the ones in Singapore, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, who are the perennial stars in the international math and science and literacy achievement testing. Look for example at the decades long work and research of the Trends in Math and Science Study (TIMSS). Highly congested curricula look good on paper, but they don't work out very well in practice, and it had been the concensus, up until the GMA administration showed up, that streamlining it by reducing the subjects to the essential core or reading, writing and computing. A congested curriculum is always politically and ideologically motivated because you can stick in all sorts of things that lead to more employment opportunities for a program that is more about that than education.

When Bro. Andrew Gonzales, FSC, was running Deped, he was working for a Curriculum with only three subject areas: Math, Science and Language. Instead we have a fruit-and -nut mix of everything from Graeco Roman civilization to the Renaissance to home and industrials arts of the 21st Century and beyond to the lala-land of politically correct Patriotism (Makabayan) and Religious character education -- all specified in the curriculum, but with no textbooks to read, or school classrooms and desks to read them on, no computers or libraries. Many teachers will literally bring their own desks and chairs and teach under the mango tree. His was not a popular incumbency because they could see he was going to fix the budget.

A great deal of my current information on all these matters comes from a very valuable document produced by the Congressional Budget Planning Dept. entitled An Analysis of the President's 2006 Budget (PDF) which produces about as close to a Report Card on the public school system as one might find. For example on page 88 of the above analysis, one finds this succinct summary of Philippine educational achievement under the Dept. of Education:
Based on the 2003 Functional Literacy Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), basic or simple literacy stood at 93.4%, one of the highest in Southeast Asia. Across regions, the NCR posted the highest literacy rate at 99.0% while ARMM registered the lowest at 70.2%. The achievement levels for both elementary and secondary schools based on mean scores on the National Elementary Assessment Test (NEAT) and National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT) were low for all subjects, with mean percentage scores of only about 54% from 1998 to 2000. The national averages based on 2002 National Diagnostic Test (NDT) and 2003 National Achievement Test (NAT) showed similar results. Only 2% of graduating high school students passed the NAT. About 90% of all the students scored below 50%. The average score of students in English was 50% (see Table 8.3).
On the High School Readiness Test, 92% of examinees failed, only 8% got a score of 50% and above. Only 0.6% got a score of 75% and above. Half of the total number of examinees
scored below 30%. In international competitions, Filipino high school students performed way below average. The 2003 Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) participated in by 42 countries ranked them at 41st and 42nd in the science and mathematics examinations. This indicated an almost unchanged status from the 1999 TIMSS.
I think it is time for the "Board of Directors" of this Republic to review the permanent Lease Hold we've granted to the National Government and the Dept. of Education over the future of education in the Philippines. The Government is simply the WRONG institution to provide education in the Philippines because the 150 Billion pesos going to the education sector is really a subsidy to Comelec and a gigantic employment and welfare program. The historical data and stunning statistics above prove that the public school system run by the national government is a massive and historic failure.

It's time to privatize education and get the government out of it. We should spend every centavo we can afford to educate our people. But the Government-run Sari-sari store run by the Gang of Four Hundred Thousand with its Ukay-ukay curriculum is not where we should spend 150 BILLION PESOS this year. It just ain't.

POSTSCRIPT: I am beginning to suspect that a major slip up like PELC-Pananampalataya is due to a widespread misconception about the Principle of Separation of Church and State. Many people seem to think it is mainly applicable to Churchmen as a legal principle to keep the Church separate from the State, to keep it from meddling in politics. It is no such thing as I've often discussed here at Philippine Commentary. The Principle of Separation of Church and State is directed entirely at the State and its agencies and personnel as a strict edict of neutrality in matters of Religion. The State may neither promote nor prohibit Religion. The phrase "respecting an establishment of Religion" refers to any action, policy or statute passed and enforced by the State which promotes Religion. Thus, when the Deped proclaims it to be an expected learning outcome that kids believe in and love God, they are doing things that properly belong to the Church, not the State. It is no small thing either, for it reveals an embarrassing fact: our State does not understand Democracy or the Constitution. Please note that every Curriculum has the force of Law, and is approved by the President herself.


Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

If only to jolt the DepEd out of its mindset of indispensability - that there is no other way to provide education but through its highly centralized bureaucracy - I will agree with your main thesis Dean.

Imagine the possibilities: at P120 billion, the amount translates to roughly P6000 per student, or P210 million for Naga's 35,000 public school population. P210M plus the P40M being spent by the city government is good enough sum to work with - but it should come with total local control of the public school system.

With P250M, we can bring down the number of teachers from 1200 to 1000 by streamlining the curriculum (which translates to a workable teacher-student ratio of 35). We will make all teaching positions contractual, renewable every year depending on student achievement test results, but at a starting salary of P20,000 -- already higher than what call centers can give.

All the more I am confident that we should allow all entrepreneurial local governments a crack at assuming control of public education service delivery.

But the downside is the split-level situation at the countryside. It will just be like the electric power industry: private providers will not go into low-density areas because it is simply not viable. This must be addressed for the scheme to work.

Without Borders said...

if deped is the problem, then we should take a close look at it. devolving education because the centralized government cant do it is tricky than you think. we did devolution with agriculture and health and it doesnt seem to work either. maybe the real reason lies with the "security of tenure" provision in the civil service law.

Jon Mariano said...

Deped has been a problem for a long time not just with lack of classrooms, teacher's salaries, lack of qualified/effective teachers, teacher's part-time or selling goods and services to augment their income, loans by teachers, salaries of teachers sold to lenders, and the list goes on and on.

If nothing is done, these problems are not going away by themselves and they're going to get worse.

I say put Bayani Fernando at DepEd.

floyd said...

sobrang daming numero sa piso pero kulang naman ang grado pag exam.
ni-hindi man lang nga pumapasa juskupow
uhmmm... bayani fernando sa Dep Ed gusto mong mabasa ang mga estudyante pag nahuling late sa klase? hehehe
i say the problem lies in providing better solutions also because hindi united ang mga tao,estudyante at teachers sa paglaban nito... no wonder most of the schools nowadays are more commercial than academic nyahahaha

take away GMA thats a good lesson to start with!




Your exposé here is outstanding.

I didn't realize that they OBLIGE children in state-run schools to learn religion.

As you said, this is pure Taliban methodology.

Anyway, I really appreciate your writing about the education as it is in Pinas.

You are right, something is inherently wrong at every level, it's some kind of fantamasgoric sort of curriculum.

Am going to re-read the post to make sure I've understood everything then will comment.




I say put Dean Jorge Bocobo in Dep Ed!

He will sort it out!

We can't have a politician running the Dep Ed.We're talking about education here, something that syhould be virtually above and beyond politics.



35 students in a class is, to my mind, still stretching it.

Ideally, classes should not be bigger than 25 students but of course, you need money to maintain tha ration, which unfortunately, RP is lacking in. At 25 , both teachers and students will benefit hugely.

Over here the average number is 21, if you add in more, parents and teachers alike will complain and bring down the city government - am not kidding! I was an elected delegate for one of the parents' unions (very powerful the unions here are!) and we sort of policed things at the educational level - kept an eye on things.

But 50???? Good heavens and for 4 hours daily? There's no way you can educate 7 to 12 year olds that way.

If you go by the 10 year combined system taking into account you got 50 per class, shiit the kids only have a 5 years learning period in total and off they go to university - no wonder we got problems with our university graduates - they can barely articulate their thoughts verbally let alone write them.

Disaster, disaster.

Rizalist said...

Very Funny HB,

Here I'm trying to get Deped abolished and you wanna put me in it? Hehe. Poor Fe, look what happened to her! Even Bro. Andrew ran into the Mafia there, though it was really one of his usecs that got him in a lot of trouble.

But I'm serious -- the mere existence of Deped as a bureaucracy is an abomination. I think Filipinos will get the education they need one way or the other without the kind of FANTASY education that the curriculum actually represents if you were to take it seriously. No way that bloated carcass can do the job. It's just a giant employment sop right now.

No one fails in public school! They just drop out. That is utterly sad. I'm perfectly willing to leave it all or most of it to the private religious corporations -- at least we can force them to practice some truth in advertising.

Not the crypto Catholic pseudo religious orientation adopted to mask a futility even the employees of Deped have sensed for a long time.

Half of the govt's work force is in Deped...



I mean it! You got the education, (and the educators' pedigree) plus you understand the system - moreover, you have solutions.

What I failed to realize big time (that's why had to re-read and re-read, damn this old brain of mine!) is that education in primary and secondary school - public system is centralized at the Dep Ed level.

Of course, that is one huge heavy octopus and somtehing's got to be done to de-centralize, streamline the education bureacracy.

By the way, looking at the Sixth grade curriculum - it's gobsmacking! These subjects don't have to be religion oriented at all. They can be a compilation of civic conciousness studies, etc.

Religion should be taught OUTSIDE the public school curriculum! Heavens, that's why we call state-run schools as layman's schooling.

Besides, the concept of forcing children, nay, brainwashing the children about doing good things or being good because GOD (whom they tangibly cannot see) wants them to do so is complete and utter aberration. A child must be taught all about right or wrong not because the child owes obedience to his/her religion or worse that GOD will punish, that they will not go to heaven but because it's the right thing to do - using God as an excuse deviate them from reality - complete, utter nonsense!

Fasting and abstinence? You can't be serious! Is the State trying to institutionalize poverty, that hunger is good for the soul so a bit of hunger here and there is good for kids? Or is it really onto instituting systemic superstion?

We are NO longer in the 18th - 19th century.

Godly works? What on earth can that mean for poor, unhealthy, 12 year olds? The subject or the coursework here must be re-titled: "Grade Six: Giving Value to Godly Works ("Paghahalaga sa Gawaing Maka-Diyos") "GOOD CITIZENSHIP", GOLDEN RULES, etc., I don't know, something like that - the whole cursus is staggeringly Afhani!

Are public schools aimed at producing priestes, elders, monks, or good citizens?

The intention is noble but the means are definitely warped!

"1. Gives value to Godly works.
1.1 Displays Godly works according to one's own beliefs.
- Donating to charity.
- Fasting and abstinence.
1.2 Obeys the Golden Rule: Don't do unto others what you would not have others do unto you.
- Badmouthing others.
- Cheating.
- Stealing.
- Cursing."

Don't get me wrong - I'm a Catholic but my kids went to catechisim classes organized by the parish and NOT by the school. School is for teaching children how to read, analyze, count, to determine what is good from bad, to be civic conscious, to be a good citizen but not to become PRIESTS, NUNS, MONKS, etc.

Also, what happens if a child refuses to believe that there is a God? He fails the subject or the year? Utterly unbelievable!

Rizalist said...

You got that right on the need for the same neutrality on Religion in the Curriculum as reqd by the Constitution, because precisely the public schools cannot select the Faith tradition of its students. As a secular institution, PELC Pananampalatay is self-deprecatory.

But the Curriculum is more than ideology. It is also what determines PLANTILLA configuration (no. of jobs available in each subject area).

The proliferation in the number of "specialized subjects" of a moralistic or ideological nature also serves a political purpose! Each minute allotted to each subject represents a job for a govt employee.

It's diabolical!

Rizalist said...

HB--something you just said gives me a fresh insight! I think that the Public School bureaucracy is suffering from a kind of envy at the success of private religious schools and are just trying to copy the formula! Most of the PhDs at Deped probably WENT to convent schools anyway. Hehe. It would be sooooo Pinoy-Pinay if that is what is happening here!

Jon Mariano said...


DepEd is a big monster, rehabilitating it will take great strength of character and foresight.

If we talk of timeframe here, I think that abolishing the department and replacing it with something else will take forever and a lot of headaches. Rehabilitation at least can be done while it is chugging along.

As it is, those who are in position are not thinking the way that you do. So I think that it will only happen if you're indeed appointed by Gloria?! to the position! No offense, but having good ideas is not enough to run such a complicated setup as the DepEd.

Again, the devil will be in the details...if ever change is going to come.

Jon Mariano said...

Regarding Religion, I find it is like the presidency of Gloria: many don't like it but nobody wants to do anything about it!

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

My sympathy goes to Fe Hidalgo, the embattled acting DepEd Secretary. For telling the truth as we also see it ay sinabon siya at nilabhan at hindi binanlawan. When the President declares there is no classroom shortage in the enchanted kingdom you better believe it. Now, that is not a sling nor an arrow, di ba? Ang tutuong ratio sa public schools ay animnapung (60) bata sa isang classroom na ginagamit ng dalawang sections sa isang araw, kaya pumapasok ang pang-umaga ng madilim pa at umuuwi ang panghapon ng madilim na. ANIMNAPO (60, diosporsanto!) Paanong matututo ang mga bata. Tinamaan ka ng magaling, Gloria!

Hidalgo cannot resign because she is in an acting capacity. Malacanang will take care of that, they will take her out. She is a career professional and she should stay on at DepEd. What we actually need is a CRASH BUILDING PROGRAM OF CLASSROOMS, like thousand classrooms in a month for a year with everybody pitching in. But we must first ADMIT that we have a SHORTAGE, no matter who is responsible for it, then address the problem. No time for fingerpointing , but only time for the CRASH BUILDING PROGRAM. We need a good President to do that, but Gloria is anything but good.

Rizalist said...

BFR--We can easily build all the school buildings we want and all the facilities and textbooks too. But we have to be brave and take the money out of that big chunk call PERSONAL SERVICES. It's the lion's share of what is available.

But the inability to deal with the EMPLOYMENT situation in a public school system is what exposes the essentially political nature of Deped, not educational.

That is also why curricular reform is KEY. If there WERE only three subjects, Math Science and Language, think of what the PLANTILLA requirements would be and how much money would be left over to spend on what the STUDENTS need, like buildings, desks, books and computers!

But it will NEVER happen, right?

Rizalist said...

BFR--Not to put too fine a point on it but...

The congested curriculum is what produces the preponderance of Personal Services in the Budget because a congested curriculum means you need a heck of a lot more teachers and bureaucrats to supervise and administer them. Likewise the congested curriculum is also what deprives the budget of much needed CAPITAL outlays to buy buildings, books and computers.

JON--To your point Jon, reform can start with a vigorous expansion of the GASTPE program that I never discussed, where public school students are given P4000 a year and they are able to attend private schools!

In other words, I say it is a mere act of Congress as part of the budget making process to redirect our purchases for educational needs ELSEWHERE than the Gang of 400,000.

Amadeo said...

Since references were made to the US educational system, particularly to K-12 education, let me make some personal observations.

As decried by Dean in this blog entry, the K-12 system in the US also follows pretty much the same tracks that the Philippines does.

First, by and large, the public school system (K-12) has crowded out to a large extent the private ones, like the parochial schools, to a point where closures are now quite commonplace. While historical test scores and performance ratings in the public school system remain static at the very least, per capita expenses are going the other way. Just the other day, a school district in Oakland defied federal/state law including a judge’s ruling by allowing HS seniors to graduate and receive diplomas in spite of failing to pass watered-down qualifying exams required by state law.

Secondly, too much bureaucracy is also a grave concern. Topmost layer is the federal Department of Education. Then you have the state version, and even the city version with the various school districts. And coming from another front, you have the powerful national/state unions of teachers that have been greatly politicized. Thus, even an obvious no-brainer program such as the school voucher system cannot pass in many states.

But one saving grace for the K-12 public school system here is that some schools have been selectively segregated for greater funding and stricter standards either as magnet schools, schools for the gifted students, or for other specialized purposes. And this is where the public system has shown sterling results. And of course, school districts located in affluent areas also become enticing choices because PTAs in those areas are active participants not only in curricula and other related activities but also in raising additional or needed funding.

Lastly, Dean, in your tuition fee quotes above, did you mean maybe fee per subject unit?

In a CA state university, a typical semester should now cost $3K for a state resident and 3 times more for a non-resident, whether American or foreigner.

And in a community or city college, tuition fee is about $26 per unit, and 6 times more for non-residents.

Heathen Dan said...

Indeed, the encroachment by religious thugs into our secular educational system is cause for alarm. They already have a near-monopoly of the private school business, now they're targetting the government schools. Newsbreak had a recent article about how the ever-meddling catholics are infiltrating the Philippine Science High School.

They do this not out of concern for pushing academic excellence or even for inculcating morality, but as religious indoctrination. Can't they teach ethics without injecting in their carrots-and-sticks dogma of salvation and damnation?

Jo said...

Dear Dean,

I don't want to sound clueless here but I really don't know that much about the recent developments in the Philippine education system so I hope that you won't mind my questions.

1. Is the 2006 BEC posted in your article different from the 2002 Revised Curriculum? I was searching for the 2006 BEC in the DepEd's page but I cannot locate it. Perhaps you can cite some of your sources so I can take a look at it.

2. Is the PELC also considered an academic subject?Or is it already integrated in MAKABAYAN? Isn't values education integrated in all subjects or there is a particular hour for it like the then Homeroom or GMRC activities.

Your article was very stimulating and I cannot help nodding my head as I encounter your opinions. I will be very grateful if you can help me with my difficulties since this topic is also my interest. Thank you and More power.

Rizalist said...

Welcome to Philippine Commentary Jo!

1. 2006 BEC is based on 2002 BEC but there are many small differences. I have not made a detailed comparison, but it is the same five subjects.

2. PELC is interwoven into all subject areas, or at least that is the theory propounded by the lobby for values education.

Regarding the 2006 BEC, links to the entire package are in my post. If you click on each of the blue-colored link s in the post you will be taken to PDF files that represent the BEC specs on that subject.