Manila Yacht Club, Manila Bay
Had a meeting with my editors yesterday regarding the Grade III Science textbook I was writing. I was prepared to be scared to death about major revisions I might be asked to do. It turned out, they just wanted me to tone down the language I used because it was far too advanced for Grade III students. Funny enough, the consultant asked his Grade III son to read the draft and asked him if he understood it. 'Not quite', says the kid. The kid is from the Ateneo.
I wouldn't pass judgment on the Ateneo Grade School education even if I was a product of the good old public school system. In fact, I spent my Grade III in an Ateneo, too. Somehow, it continues to boggle me why we haven't raised the level of language used in elementary schools. This must be due to the declining profiency of teachers in the English language. And don't even think of blaming this to text messaging!
Another thing, why is science so weak in elementary, even in High School? The fact is, DepEd's Basic Education Curriculum (BEC), supposedly a work in progress started by the now-dead Raul Roco, has practically erased all science subjects in Grades 1 and 2. The thing is, this particular BEC has failed miserably.
Why do I say this? Because ever so consistently, the profiency level of public school students in Mathematics, English, and Science have continuously dipped into dangerous levels never before seen in the system's history. I have seen this myself during provincial visits to schools, and the data gathered during the annual National Achievement Tests say the same, too.
I have nothing against the order to tone down the language of my work. I have been paid to do a good job on it and I will deliver. After all, this Grade III textbook will be the children's first formal science subject. It might pay to be a little gentle on the poor things. Unfortunately, it appears that earlier level textbooks (Grades 1 and 2) are baby talk books, so shifting to a formal language in Grade III would be a shocker. There's the problem.
But since we Pinoys just loooooove to babytalk our children, maybe we should do this in advancing levels up to Grade VI thereby rendering our graduates incompetent for High School. Believe it or not, there's now talk of revising the BEC and returning Science to Grade I.
When will we ever stop experimenting with our children's education?!