By Lee Webber
Recently Delegate James Moylan asked for DODEA to consider rejoining with the Guam Department of Education (DOE) rather than building another school on Guam to deal with the coming influx for young people arriving with the continued [military] buildup.
This follows Delegate Moylan’s common knowledge of why the Department of Defense started the DODEA group for their students back in 1997 and removing the educational funding from Guam DOE.
Since that time (now 26 years) little to nothing has changed within the overall operations at DOE as it relates to educational quality or the overall quality of the school system structure itself.
The majority of public schools remain in a shamble, there are teacher shortages, facilities are falling apart (save those that have been contracted out), and campuses remain in general disarray.
The government of Guam and Guam’s political leadership have had 26 years to prove they were capable of managing DOE facilities properly.
What they have shown is that along with public education, keeping our island residents safe and improving and maintaining general healthcare for the island are all areas in which they have failed miserably at improving.
Schools and campuses remain, in a general sense, extremely poorly maintained, and overall educational scores and graduation levels are no better than they were 26 years ago. They may even be worse.
We have drug and violence problems in our public schools, the buildings are not sanitary and Moylan thinks he has a case for convincing DODEA to place their military dependents in such poorly-maintained and -operated conditions.
Anyone capable of pouring sand out of a boot can see the foolishness of such a suggestion. Even an angry snake wouldn’t bite at that!
Why would DoDEA even consider placing the dependent children in the care of a government that has had 26 years to fix such obvious problems, but consciously chose to allow them to continue along the same track?
It is one thing to have people think you are crazy but an entirely different one to open your mouth and prove it.
Maybe the five-year plan Delegate Moylan is talking about could be a five-year timeframe for the administration and legislature to finally get their act together by improving on the conditions and educational quality of DOE and bring it to a level equal to or better than that of DoDEA so such an idea can even be seriously considered.
Moylan’s idea of investing the $1 billion into DOE rather than expand the existing DoDEA is equivalent to throwing good money after bad unless we change the entire system of control for Guam public schools to fall under the control of DoDEA.
With world and national conditions regarding education, safety, illegal drugs, faltering public health and immigration issues one would think that the good delegate would tackle something far more attainable.
Making Guam great again is all about making Guam’s political leadership more responsible without leaning on federal officials for bailout funds because local leadership has consistently proven to be failures at running our public educational system.
Add to this, what are clearly visible failures, look at public health and public safety and you have all the congressional reasons necessary to say NO to Delegate Moylan’s absurd proposal.
It is simply time for politicians on Guam to “man up” and take proper and consistent responsibility for public education and the inherent systems along with public safety and public health.
Guam politicians need to stop worrying about getting re-elected and start worrying about the people of Guam!
Lee P. Webber is a businessman and civic advocate, the former publisher of the Pacific Daily News, a former president and publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser, and a former director of operations for USA Today International/Asia