Letter to Senator Grace Poe

To: sengracepoe@gmail.com Carlo Salcedo

April 17, 2015

HONORABLE GRACE L. POE

Senator

Republic of the Philippines

Re: Addressing Dishonesty and Apathy Among Filipino Educators

Dear Senator Poe:

I am an English teacher currently stationed at New Era National High School in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

I seek your help in eradicating the systemic ills corroding the Department of Education that I, in my humble capacity as teacher, have been trying to address for 7 years now.

I have recommended practical and rational changes in policies to DepEd Central Office and have devised innovations in teaching and materials design but have only been scoffed at by “educators” who still gauge them based on what they learned in college 30 or 40 years ago.

I have reported irregularities to DepEd Central Office but have been mostly ignored, even threatened by co-teachers and principals. In all my efforts at exposing irregularities and malpractices in public schools and DepEd, I have only gained enemies in high places. I have been ostracized and ridiculed by many of my peers, branding me “idealistic” as if it were a mental disorder of some sort. The director of DepEd’s “Action Center” aware of the many reports I have sent their office even suggested “Why don’t you lie low muna?” when I visited their office to follow up on the reports that I made.

DepEd, instead of banishing dishonesty and apathy in Philippine society, has fallen victim to these undesirable qualities that have plagued our people for decades and held us back from rising to the level of developed countries. While our neighboring countries are busy taking advantage of the best that science offers in Education, our DepEd is still trying to inculcate honesty among our “educators” — with little success. The culture of dishonesty is so deeply rooted in DepEd that Secretary Armin Luistro had had to instruct all public schools to hang huge “Honesty is the best policy” banners on their gates. The cliched reminder is not really directed to students.

I will need to be blunt in order to paint an accurate picture of the state of Philippine education and consequently the state of the Filipino mind:

· DepEd does not have a clear vision of where the Filipino should be morally and intellectually in the 21st Century. The people leading DepEd do not know where we are presently. They probably do not know it is important to find out. They are aware of the obvious need for the country to rise economically, but their actions only show that DepEd’s core values of being maka-tao, maka-Diyos, and maka-kalikasan are nothing more than mere platitudes.

· DepEd hires unqualified, undedicated individuals and assigns them to key positions — this is the rule, not the exception. And this is true for teachers, principals, superintendents and directors. Many hold bogus postgraduate degrees. Projects are all for show. For documentation. Points for promotion.

· Superintendents and Supervisors hardly visit the schools they oversee. Principals and Supervisors spend hours on Facebook, unmindful of the chaos going on in campus.

· Teaching materials are dated, full of errors, boring and a chore to read. They are also expensive: P40 per grading period (2 months) for each subject (Math, Filipino, English, and Araling Panlipunan).

· A typical Education student (future teacher) would be one who failed to qualify for any other course or at least feels unqualified. “You cannot give what you don’t have” is truer nowhere else than in DepEd.

· Corruption remains to be the norm. Rapacious DepEd officials and conniving contractors steal millions, perhaps billions, through shady deals on buildings, school chairs, teaching materials and so on. Projects are created around the idea of “making a killing”, with Education for facade.

These are just some of the many ills in DepEd, which I have seen with my own eyes.

Having spent years in the trenches — the public school — where the ugliest things are all too visible, I am morally compelled to do everything I could to help reverse the situation. “To whom much is given, much is required.”

Currently, I have in the works fair and realistically implementable, targeted policy reforms that could address — at their roots — the problems besetting the country’s public education system. I am working on new, exciting ideas which well-meaning citizens, public and private, would be proud to be part of. A victory of the Filipino, not just of any administration.

Sadly, too many people in the system do not share my advocacy and are actually working to isolate me and render my efforts ineffective. They are succeeding in many fronts, including inflicting me with discomforts and posting harm to me and my life partner of 12 years. I am increasingly besieged by people who see me as a threat to their culture of corruption — their “business.”

Honorable Senator, I need your help. But more importantly, the Filipino youth need our help. I hope to be able to work together with you in achieving our shared goal of uplifting the quality of Philippine education and bring out the long-stifled honorable qualities of the Filipino.

God and Country,

Carlo Isidore Salcedo

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