WASHINGTON D.C. – Maryland County Schools could send hundreds of Filipino teachers home.
Officials in Prince George’s County said they are no longer renewing work visas for “non-critical workers” like elementary grade, music or language teachers.
“As soon as mag-end ang kanilang visa that’s also the end of their career in PG County. Pauuwiin sila,” said Carlo Parapara, President of the Pilipino Educators Network (PEN).
Prince George County school officials blame deep budget cuts.
But PEN, representing the county’s 800 Filipino teachers, said foreign teachers are being singled out.
They want the cut-backs based on performance and seniority, not nationality, and they're ready to go to court to get it.
“Mayroon prima facie evidence dito ng discrimination against international teachers because wala silang objective criteria to lay off their personnel,” said Att. Arnedo Valera of the Migrant Heritage Commission.
Prince George County began recruiting teachers in the Philippines in 2005, lured by the chance of living in America, many are just waiting for their green cards to be processed.
The teachers are reaching out for help and Philippine officials say they’re “very concerned”.
“We are clearly in support of the teachers,” said Labor Attache Luzviminda Padilla.
PG county school performance has been improving since 2008 according to state measurements.
“Masakit dahil nung dumating kami dito nag-promise itong school system na we will take care of you,” said Parapara.
The teachers believe they’ve planted roots here so they feel sad to see their dreams so near, and yet so far, as they face the prospect of uprooting their lives all over again. abs-cbn news