Documentary follows educators from Philippines during Baltimore teacher shortage
PBS will air Tuesday a documentary examining the lives of four Filipino educators who moved to Baltimore as part of the city’s efforts to shore up its teacher shortages by hiring foreign educators.
According to the website describing the documentary, 600 school teachers in Baltimore have come from the Philippines, representing 10 percent of the city’s total teacher corps.
The documentary, titled “The Learning,” follows the teachers, all females, as they stood in front of their largely under-performing classrooms and the pressures they felt from family members back home to send back remittances.
From the PBS website:
“When the United States took possession of the Philippines in 1898, American teachers set up the islands’ public school system. English was established as the language of instruction and remains so to this day. Today in the Philippines, there is a large pool of trained, motivated, English-speaking teachers, especially in high school math, science and special education. In their country, these teachers receive poverty-level salaries, making them prized recruitment targets for many U.S. school districts, especially those in cash-strapped inner cities. While a salary in one of these urban districts may be low by American standards, it can be as much as 25 times a teacher’s salary in the Philippines.”
Though trailing the limelight New Orleans receives for its attempt to turn around a moribund education system with charter schools and a teacher corps with low unionization rates, Baltimore has logged better student results on standardized tests.
Via the United Teachers of New Orleans, The American Independent obtained the following statistics:
From 2005 to 2010, fourth-grade math scores in New Orleans (all Orleans Parish and Recovery School District schools) increased by 18 percentage points in math and 11 percentage points in English.
However, fourth-grade students in Baltimore improved 30 points in math and 11 points in reading between 2005 and 2010. In Detroit, fourth-grade math scores improved 19 points and reading scores improved 8 percentage points between 2006 and 2010.
From 2005 to 2010 at the eighth-grade level, New Orleans’ students’ scores increased 15 points in math and 16 points in English. However, eighth-grade students in Baltimore improved 19 points in math and 22 points in reading between 2006 and 2009. In Detroit, eighth-grade math scores improved 16 points between 2006 and 2010.