Are we lowering standards for school kids?
by Krystal Paco
Guam - According to former senator Robert Klitzkie and author of the "Every Child is An Entitled to An Adequate Education Act," despite their claims, the island's current leaders aren't making education a top priority. Last week Committee of Education chairperson Speaker Judi Won Pat cited Klitzkie's mandates as one of many reasons the Department of Education can't afford to live within its means.
"She says that if it weren't for these mandates like the Every Child Act that requires the government to spend money on fourteen essential points in education, maybe they can save money," said Klitzkie. The fourteen benchmarks require schools to have certified teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and health professionals, campus environments with proper ventilation, flushable toilets, electricity, and regular timely school bus transportation to and from school.
"You go down the list of fourteen, and I don't know which one of those we would even think we could go without no matter how much money we could save," he continued. "So if we don't have standards and we do away with the standards 0238 then literally every child is entitled to nothing."
Klitzkie clarifies that the act doesn't require classrooms to be air conditioned. As KUAM News previously reported, doe is the second largest consumer of power on island. Last December John F. Kennedy High School racked in a $163,000 power bill, largely due to the oversized a/c units in every class that ran through the evening hours.
He said, "What the bill says is that classrooms with a sensible temperature no greater than 78. 'Sensible' doesn't necessarily mean air/con, it means fans, it means windows...education really isn't about bricks and mortar and buildings and air conditioning education is really about teaching and learning and my position is that we can't do our best job of teaching and learning, unless we've covered those fourteen basis."
Klitzkie calls out to the members of the 31st Guam Legislature to assume their responsibility to locate funding to provide for the island's 30,000 public school students. He also urges doe to re-evaluate where it cuts spending. "I would challenge you to go down to the Legislature and find the un-air conditioned office, the un-air conditioned session hall, etc. If we have enough money for the senators and their perks and their salary increases, how is it that we don't have enough money to provide the fourteen basic points in the adequate education?"
In the meantime, Governor Eddie Calvo has assured he will make an exception for DOE and release the 15% reserve for the agency despite an earlier mandate to cut costs government-wide.