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Education report profiles necessary changes

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - The Calvo Administration's Transition Team's subcommittee's report on education is both good and bad. Governor Eddie Calvo's team brought the different facets of educational system on Guam together to get a detailed report on the current state of the educational system and what steps need to be taken in order to make improvements.

"They talk about the articulation from our school system to our Guam Community College to our University of Guam and that's important," Senator Aline Yamashita told KUAM News. The freshman policymaker says she is also pleased to see the subcommittee recommending the Guam Education Board perform as the board of trustees and the board of regents does, a change she endorsed by introducing Bill 32, which would establish the education board as a policy board.

The transition report also cited the need for better recruitment and retainment of teachers, something Juan M. Guerrero Elementary School first grade teacher Mabel Uncango agrees with, saying, "Over the last seven years of me teaching there has been a drastic change in this school just for overturn of teachers, teachers coming in and going out."

Coincidentally, Calvo was visiting the Department of Education today as part of his ongoing tour of Government of Guam agencies. DOE Superintendent Dr. Nerissa Underwood reacted to the report, saying, "We had indicated in that report it would be wonderful if when the buildup funding start coming in that there would be an amount set aside that would just be for education."

Following the governor's visit, Underwood joined him at Adelup along with Speaker Judi Won Pat as he signed-off on American Reinvestment and Recovery Act-funded contracts that provide nearly $3 million for teacher training, english as a second language professional development, and development of science technology engineering and mathematics programs.

In the meantime, the transition report may be the first step in fixing some of the gaping holes in the local education system. The 54-page document points out inadequate revenue, a slow and inconsistent procurement process, and a lack of funds resulting  in federal and local mandates not being followed.

In the long-term the report states than a new community learning center network be created, distance education be encouraged, and sustainability in curriculum be established.


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