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Dear Friends:

We’re asking our teachers to do very difficult things in our schools today. We might as well ask them to fly airplanes without wings.

One would really would have to sit down and scratch one’s head to figure out how to go about convincing a teacher to stay teaching on Guam. The government guarantees teachers so few things. But what it does guarantee speaks volumes.

What the government guarantees Guam teachers:
1. The government guarantees teachers a classroom that will either leak or won’t have any water.
2. The government guarantees teachers won’t have to worry about the air conditioning breaking – because there is none.
3. The government guarantees a teacher’s break will be very short – because the teacher won’t be able to tolerate the filthy restroom.
4. The government guarantees teachers are not responsible for the condition of textbooks at the end of the year – because there aren’t any at the beginning of the year.
5. The government guarantees a teacher’s pay is about seven to eight years behind mainland pay, with no increase in sight.
6. The government guarantees it will keep telling teachers that education is a priority.

After you read this list you may laugh—or cry. Of course the government doesn’t really guarantee these things, but in a sense it might as well because by its own actions and policies it does nothing to correct them.

As you may know, I have introduced legislation that intends to get Guam on the path to correcting some of these unfortunate points. ( Read the legislation, Bill 162, for yourself: )

I have spoken to the Chair of the Committee on Education about hearing Bill 162. She has given me a tentative time of the second week of October for a public hearing. I will e-mail you the exact time and date when I have the information.

Criticism of this bill is inversely proportional to the time spent reading it. It is a little bit complicated and does take some time to read, but if you do, you will understand the full effects of the legislation.

You are welcome to give me a call or e-mail me to discuss any issues on your mind. I’m interested in your thoughts and ideas.



P.S. A very important side note on Bill 162 …

… Floodgates of litigation would not open if this bill is passed. The bill does not allow parents of school children to sue the government officials for monetary damages. This is not a “put money in somebody’s pocket” law. What it does allow is injunctions against government officials whose actions deny a child one of the elements of an adequate education. If there isn’t any water in the school and your child misses three weeks, then appropriate officials could explain to a judge just why this is going on. The judge can hold a hearing and order the officials to take the appropriate action to get the water running in that school. As it is now, children and parents are completely shut out of the process. Bill 162 places parents and children in the heart of the process – where they belong.

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