Diversity as Opportunity: Filipino Teachers in America
The hiring of Filipinos to teach in America offers a good case study of how the transfer of human labor from small nations to First World countries functions. This study is significant considering the influx of Filipino teachers in California where 33, 994 emergency permits and waivers were issued, in one year alone according to statistics. America has tapped the Philippines to diversify its educational system for two reasons: (1) the Philippines uses English as an official second languages and (2) the Philippines, a former colony, shares strong historical ties with the United States. This new breed of Filipino teachers is part of the global program of outsourcing. Big nations, in this paradigm, set the terms for the use and exchange of commodities, including human labor. The terms and conditions in the hiring contract, however, is problematic. Reliable sources such as The LA Times, The California Journal, The New Import cite the lack of coordination between the INS and the school districts resulting in the delay of the hiring process. Furthermore, Filipino teachers are required to pay for the entire application process which causes most of them to sell their property and give up their life-savings. And compared to their American counterparts, they are paid less. Despite their educational achievement and their years of teaching experience, they find themselves in the lowest rung of the educational caste system in America. They are also assigned to ghettos and remote rural areas, where Americans usually not inclined to work. Fortunately, in the dialectics of 'have' and 'have nots', these immigrant teachers are 'enabled' in their capacity as cultural carriers. They bring with them residues of their original tradition and rituals that become incrementally grounded in the new land. The exposure to diversity is the leverage that puts both dominant and small countries on equal footing. In the cultural paradigm, power is equal simply because having a culture is acquiring an identity. Cultural interventions resists the idea of global sameness and, therefore, re-enforces the notion that nations, big and small, have to survive together.
Keywords: Globalization, Politics of Diversity, Learning, Education, Training
Dr. Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza
Writing Instructor, The Writing Program, English Department, Rutgers University/The College of St Elizabeth