Giv­ing teach­ers their due

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features News - By SE­NA­TOR SONNY AN­GARA

study by Har­vard and Columbia Univer­sity econ­o­mists found that a good teacher — mea­sured by how well their stu­dents im­proved in terms of test scores — im­parts life­long ben­e­fits.

Us­ing data on 2.5 mil­lion in­di­vid­u­als over 20 years in a large ur­ban district in the United States, the re­searchers con­cluded that stu­dents of so-called high “value-added” teach­ers are more “likely to at­tend col­lege, earn higher salaries, live in bet­ter neigh­bor­hoods and save more for re­tire­ment.” Con­versely, the same study also found that hav­ing a poor qual­ity, low “val­ueadded” teacher could set back a stu­dent by up to US$250,000 in life­time earn­ings.

In­ter­est­ingly, a 2013 Thomas B. Ford In­sti­tute re­port con­cluded that as­sign­ing more stu­dents to an ef­fec­tive teacher can at times be bet­ter than keep­ing class­room sizes smaller as per con­ven­tional wis­dom.

Of course, the re­port was based on mod­el­ling and the­o­ret­i­cal sim­u­la­tion us­ing teacher and stu­dent data from North Carolina, rather than look at ac­tual in­stances. Nev­er­the­less, it was rea­son­ably demon­strated that trans­fer­ring up to 12 stu­dents to a top-per­form­ing teacher could re­sult in “learn­ing gains” that are equiv­a­lent to an ex­tra two and a half weeks of teach­ing.

An­other US study in fact found that a year’s worth of teach­ing from a top 10-per­cent teacher could give stu­dents up to three times as much knowl­edge and in­struc­tion as they would with the bot­tom 10-per­cent.

In short, teach­ers play a sin­gu­larly im­por­tant — if not the most im­por­tant — role in en­sur­ing the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion our stu­dents re­ceive. That only makes it im­per­a­tive and es­sen­tial for our gov­ern­ment to pro­vide all the sup­port it can muster for our teach­ing pool.

In fact, our gov­ern­ment has lent this sup­port in re­cent years, with a round of salary in­creases for teach­ers in pub­lic pri­mary and se­condary in­sti­tu­tions. Teach­ers in ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions also ben­e­fited from these in­creases, but since 2013, around 35,000 of them — or roughly 70 per­cent — haven’t been able to re­ceive the job promotions due them.

Cur­rently, the rules and reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing fac­ulty promotions in state uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges (SUCs), teacher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions (TEIs), and other higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions (HEIs) fall un­der Na­tional Bud­get Cir­cu­lar (NBC) No. 461 jointly is­sued in 1998 by the Depart­ment of Bud­get and Man­age­ment (DBM) and the Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (CHED).

Through the years, NBC 461 has been im­ple­mented in roughly three­year cy­cles. Cy­cle 7 cov­er­ing job promotions for 2013 to 2016 has yet to be al­lot­ted any bud­get due to an ap­par­ent mora­to­rium by the DBM, pend­ing cer­tain up­dates and reg­u­la­tions’ re­vi­sions it has re­quired from the Philip­pine As­so­ci­a­tion of State Uni­ver­si­ties and Col­leges (PASUC) and CHED. PASUC and CHED have said that the re­vised guide­lines will be sub­mit­ted by 2019. Our rules and reg­u­la­tions al­ways need im­prov­ing. But the job promotions and other long over­due ben­e­fits for our teach­ers should not be held up by our bu­reau­cratic pro­ce­dures. That’s why as vice-chair­man of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Fi­nance, we re­cently pushed for the al­lot­ment of am­ple funds in the 2019 na­tional bud­get so that SUC teach­ers could fi­nally get the promotions they de­serve. The job promotions and the cor­re­spond­ing pay in­creases con­sti­tute the best mon­e­tary re­ward our gov­ern­ment can muster for our teach­ers’ out­stand­ing per­for­mances. These in­cen­tives also serve as ex­tra rea­sons for our teach­ers to stay in their re­spec­tive uni­ver­si­ties, rather than be lured by more lu­cra­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties else­where. Ul­ti­mately, by giv­ing our teach­ers what is due for the sin­gu­larly im­por­tant role they play, these job promotions and pay in­creases help im­prove the qual­ity of our pub­lic higher ed­u­ca­tion.

sen­son­nyan­[email protected]­hoo. com| Face­book, Twit­ter & In­sta­gram: @son­nyan­gara

Se­na­tor Sonny An­gara was elected in 2013, and now chairs the Se­nate com­mit­tees on lo­cal gov­ern­ment, and ways and means.

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