The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

I was Wrong Then, But I Think I’m Right Now

on November 1, 2019

About two weeks ago I read an article in CNN on-line that described recent changes in Arizona’s public schools as a big success. And because I was strongly impressed by it, I praised the same things in my next post to you. Soon afterward, however, I began to see things differently, and decided that what was described as success could very well turn out to be a disaster. So, today I will do my best to identify the hidden problems in my previous post and predict what I now think is likely to happen if our federal government does not reverse its decisions.


What has happened in Arizona over the past few years is a significant change in American school operations. First, because that state was unwilling to raise school salaries, it lost 3,000 teachers in a single year, many of them moving into jobs in local businesses where they were offered significantly higher salaries because they had science degrees and experience. Nevertheless, those facts didn’t seem to worry the state or national officials because they had already created what they thought was a good solution to teacher revolt, and were certain it could be instituted nationwide. Their solution was to replace revolting American teachers with job-seekers from the Philippines, who had earned science degrees, demonstrated their teaching skills, and were eager to come to Arizona for salaries that were better than the ones at home. In addition, some of them already spoke some English.

However, once Philippine teachers take over their work in Arizona schools they will be likely to have some serious problems; specifically “culture shock”, poor English speaking, and unfamiliarity with regular classroom procedures. But the article claimed that most of the new foreign teachers would be able to deal with those problems and do a good job of teaching American students.

What was not made clear in the CNN article was the fact that the rules agreed upon by both countries are restrictive. They say that Philippine teachers may stay in the United States for only two years. Also, whether or not they will be replaced by new teachers from the same country seams to be undecided so far.

Apparently, our national officials believe that having one year of outsiders teaching in our schools will be enough to persuade revolting American teachers to return to their original jobs and salaries. Does that mean that what is likely to happen in Arizona is also bound to happen country-wide? I think it does. It looks like our federal government is determined to persuade all American teachers to quietly accept low salaries and disrespectful treatment as their lot in life, and then all our eduction problems will be solved.

2 responses to “I was Wrong Then, But I Think I’m Right Now

  1. pauleck47 says:

    Thank you for taking a different look at this “solution” to the teacher shortage. Looks like an attempt to globalize education. Similar approach being taken in addressing the nursing shortage. I read recently that 10% of the GNP of the Philippines is generated from money sent back to the country by their people working abroad. We need to support a profession that is paid just compensation with decent benefits. Unit #39 of the Oregon Retired Educators Association hopes to work on PERS messaging with the assistance of Tax Fairness Oregon. In the conceptualization phase but if we want to guarantee that our schools are staffed with professional educators in the future, we better start working on what really counts in recruiting and retaining these dedicated people!


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