Hearing debates virtues of law revoking teacher certification - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Hearing debates virtues of law revoking teacher certification

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Despite a recent lawsuit filed by the Guam Federation of Teachers against the Guam Commission for Certification, a public hearing took place last night to hear concerns from both parties on how the issue might be resolved through amending the current law.

An informational hearing was held Monday night to hear concerns from educators regarding Public Law 32-236, which would provide a method to revoke teacher certifications for those found guilty by the Guam Commission for Educator Certification of serious misconduct. Educator Gwendolyn Taimanglo said, "As I stated before, the heart of Public Law 32-236 is a law with nothing but good intention for our island's children, it is also crucial that this law protects educators as well from false meaningless or even cruel allegations."

Superintendent of the Department of Education Jon Fernandez said the agency supports the intent of the law, but hopes that its language can be clarified along with procedural clarifications needed to determine how DOE and the GCEC investigations can work hand in hand. He also shared the feedback he's received, noting, "We did get a handful of concerns but they related to similar issues, questions related to procedure. Questions like whether or not legal representation was allowed during the process, whether there were enough due process protections for those who were accused of misconduct."

Other questions included what severity of crimes would be investigated and who defined what constituted morality or appropriate teacher conduct - none of which was made clear in the language of the law. What is clear however is that it addresses a major gap in teacher accountability.

Without the law, DOE would have to cease investigations once a teacher resigns, allowing that teacher to move to another school without any record of misconduct. Said Fernandez, "If all certificated individuals are included within the reach of the certification commission, they would be able to take on that investigation, whereas DOE would not."

While all agree the intent of the law is sound, Senator Nerissa Underwood said legislators are currently reviewing input from the hearing to see how the law can be improved or amended.

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