filipino teachers find jobs in america

The Los Angeles Times recently ran a story on a recent wave of foreign exchange teachers from the Philippines who are primarily being recruited to fill chronic teacher shortages in math, science and special education throughout the United States: Filipino teachers exchange homeland for jobs in America.

More than 100 school districts, including at least 20 in California, are recruiting from the Philippines. The Los Angeles Unified School District has hired 250 to 300 teachers from the Philippines -- the largest contingent among more than 600 foreign exchange teachers overall.

Why the Philippines? The Philippines apparently has an abundance of teachers, which allows U.S. recruiters to avoid perceptions that they are taking educational resources needed by Filipinos. And most Filipinos speak English and can understand some Spanish.

And of course, Filipino teachers are lured by far better pay in the United States. Most teachers in the Philippines earn $300 to $400 a month, less than one-tenth what they can pull down in Los Angeles.

It's a pretty fascinating phenomenon. I wasn't really aware of it until I heard about this upcoming documentary, The Learning, by award-winning filmmaker Ramona Diaz. The film follows a group of Filipina schoolteachers who have migrated to Baltimore, Maryland, to teach in inner-city schools. Watch a trailer for the film here.

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