Marianas Variety Guam Edition – The Local and Regional Newspaper

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Back Letter to the Editor Government schools or public/community schools?

Government schools or public/community schools?

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REFORMS are badly needed in our public schools and it goes straight to the heart of the mission. Do we spend public taxes (DOE budgets) for education of our children or do we continue to spend the money for government bureaucracy, for procurement and business contracts?

The existing Department of Education has plenty of money ($184,000,000 for fiscal year 2010 maintenance and operations with some 31,000 students, grades K through 12). The problem is spending too much of this huge amount on government redundancies, corruption and wastefulness. By the way, the $184 million does not include the building costs for new schools and student transportation, which is part of the budget of the Department of Public Works.

The DOE administration, the school board, the governor, and members of the Guam Legislature – all must recognize one set of rules and regulations for a school system model. The model or structure must not tie the hands of the superintendent, his staff, or the teachers. The superintendent and the teachers must control the overall budget, especially the curriculum, building maintenance, supplies and equipment, and the students.

The recent calls for "task forces" and "summit conferences" – while politically correct – do not and will not solve these basic problems. For example, Gov. Eddie Calvo, in his state of the territory address, recently spoke directly against the teachers and their collective bargaining contract. The governor, who all the while has the overall control over public education under the Organic Act of Guam, disregards and degrades the public schools by not sending his own children to them.

Remember, if we want to educate each and every child we must be prepared. Perhaps we need more resources and the money to acquire them. However, the professionals, educators and teachers that we need for the job must have the authority to carry out this immense task.

Bruce G. Karolle,
Tamuning

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