More than 40 Guam Department of Education teachers face possible termination after the department issued a notice requiring them to pass certification for Praxis I before Dec. 1.
At yesterday’s Guam Education Board meeting held at P.C. Lujan in Barrigada, the board members said they will address the issue before the December deadline.
Board member Joe San Agustin said a possible solution is to recommend that the Guam Commission for Educator Certification (GCEC) accept a composite or combined score for reading, writing, and math sections of the Praxis exam to enable teachers to get their certification.
Praxis I evaluates basic skills in reading, writing, and math and, according to the law, is a requirement for individuals seeking an initial educator certificate.
San Agustin stated his concern for some of the educators who have been teaching for 10 to 15 years – who will be forced out as a result of the certification requirement.
“I prefer to have them teaching than to have somebody to come in as a substitute to be taking care of our kids… you will find that there are many students that have graduated with high honors because of these teachers, who have succeeded because of these teachers,” San Agustin said.
According to GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez, the department has been encouraging the teachers to pass the Praxis and meet the certification requirements.
“They come to the board to seek other options to enable them to maintain their teaching positions. But the difficulty there is that the certification commission is a different entity and they would have to make that decision or the Legislature can make those decisions to address those requirements,” Fernandez explained.
GCEC took over the task of certifying educators on island from GDOE after its establishment by Public Law 29-73 on May 15, 2008. Currently, the commission certifies teachers employed by the Guam Department of Education, DODEA and private schools.
The board, according to San Agustin, has agreed to assign Rosie Tainatongo to lead the process of developing solutions and recommendations that will be endorsed at the certification commission.
GEB will again convene next week to discuss the issue and draft recommendations.
Meanwhile, the GEB meeting also tackled Board Policy 406, which pertains to student cellphone use on campus.
Adopted by the board last 2007, BP 406 “ensures that student possession and use of cellular phones does not hinder the daily operations of schools and does not interfere with academic instruction, and does not disrupt school operations.”
During the meeting, the board gave Fernandez 60 days to develop a consistent cell phone use policy for the GDOE public schools.
To help him develop the policy, Fernandez said he intends to gather inputs from the teachers and principals to find out if cell phone use interferes or facilitates learning in the classroom.
“I think that cell phone use is a fixture in our everyday lives. Now we’d have to consider how it fits in our schools and our educational system,” Fernandez explained.