Filipino teachers in Prince George’s County have largely escaped deep
budget cuts that have led to the lay-off of hundreds of teachers and
school support staff.
“There has been some cost-cutting, and yes
some Filipino teachers were affected but they have been minimal,”
explained Dr. Carlo Parapara, president of the Maryland-based Pilipino
Educators Network (PEN) and Mathematics and Technology Education teacher in Upper
PG County has been hiring teachers from the Philippines
since 2004. There are now over 600 of them, not counting their family
The PEN was formed only last February and swore-in the maiden set of officers three weeks ago.
Parapara explained that PEN aims to be the public voice of Filipino teachers in PG County.
objectives include uniting Filipino educators in the county for mutual
assistance; help them understand their rights and responsibilities;
facilitate professional development; and help promote Philippine culture
Parapara said Filipino teachers in PG County are flourishing despite the economic recession.
Grace Genova, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher, concurred with his assessment.
attributed this to the fact that the vast majority of Filipino teachers
have kept their certifications current and performed well in their
The PG County Board of Education had eliminated hundreds of
jobs – 300 of them teaching positions – slashed bus service and
expanded class sizes to cope with budget cuts.
The $1.66 billion
budget approved at the start of the 2010-2011 school year represented a
2.6 percent reduction from the previous year.
Parapara said they
only get to know of a Filipino teacher who’s been laid off or
transferred to another school through the grapevine or if the affected
mentor goes to them for help.Maryland teachers Dr. Carlo Parapara and Grace Genova pose before an original Amorsolo portrait of Jose Rizal
He explained they arrange for legal advise for those who want them.
Based on that, he said the number of displaced Filipino teachers has been minimal.
He said they are more concerned with the reduction in training opportunities.
This appears to be one of the secrets of Filipino educators in making themselves recession-proof.
“Most of our teachers are pursuing higher studies,” Parapara averred.
of them entered the United States on an H-1B visa which is valid for
three years and can be extended for another three years.
The first batches of Filipino educators are near the end of the H-1B visa validity but even here, they’re not worried.
said about 70 percent of the Batch 2005 mentors – to which he belongs – have
already received their immigrant visa, the so-called green card.
He said he plans to stay five more years in PG County before embarking on a major career move.
majority of Filipino teachers have expressed the desire to stick it out
in PG County although some plan to move “to a less difficult” school,
But even as they continue to plot
their future, Filipino teachers are confident they have found a home in
Prince George’s County.by
Rodney Jaleco of Manila Mail