February named National Attack PSS Month

Posted on Feb 21 2020


Arson scum
Over the last few years there have been an alarming number of arson fires in San Antonio. Obviously there is a pyromaniac living there. He/she may be a homeless person or a resident that just likes to watch the destruction. How many more structures will he get away with destroying before the enforcers go all out, find this scum bag and throw him under the jail for a decade or two? This is a tiny island with plenty of loose lips. It should not be that difficult to find and squash this vermin. Someone needs to be held accountable to track him down. Fire Department? Police? Bounty hunter?

Now he has trashed Hopwood Middle School just as they were trying to put it back together (finally) after the Yutu devastation. It is so disappointing that some crab mentality loser puts our student’s reconstruction project back months and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Perhaps a reward for capture and successful prosecution would work. I’ll put a Franklin C-note into the pot. If we can get 30 or 40 others to kick in maybe we can get some action. Perhaps PSS cares enough to kick in $20,000 of the funds donated to them for free by the feds and the CNMI government?

PSS shortsighted
The burglary problem is not a new one at PSS; it has been hitting them regularly for years. Now they publically reach out to an already understaffed DPW/DPS to help them protect the schools. That is not the rational solution. Over the years PSS has lost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to burglars, insider sneak thieves and other forms of pilfering. Additional lighting at all 20 schools in the system is a good idea. But, remember to pay your light bill.

For an agency that drags in literally tens of millions in funding every year, it is shameful that they can’t find suitable funding for basic simple security measures to protect the schools with armed security guards 24/7. Yes, 24/7. After school hours and on the weekends show the highest incidence of burglaries. Hire your own professionals. Put them on staff and make sure you hire trained professionals, not your cousin-in-law. Send them regularly for professional development training. You seem to have unlimited funds to send other PSS staff flying all over the place for that purpose. Give the guys with the badges a shot at those air miles and hotel frequent customers giveaways—and the training while they are at it. There should be at least two guards per small school and proportionally up to six at the really big, spread out campuses. For good measure add a trained attack/guard dog and handler to the security team at each school whenever classes are not in session. There, now, you have created a number of new jobs and saved your department and the taxpayers millions. Simple eh?

To not spend a few tens of thousands on security personnel and lose millions to theft and vandalism shows a serious lack of prioritized decision-making at the top of PSS and its board. Pitiful in fact.

National Kick PSS Month
In the first week of February, Hopwood Middle School had 21 of its temporary classrooms burgled (company security guard asleep?), Marianas High School was likewise broken into, as was Garapan Elementary. Dandan Middle School had an “attempted” break-in. Pang of remorse and guilt at the last minute or an intervention? I didn’t see the details. Whatever, it rounds out the week nicely. So what will the tally be for February by month’s end? Maybe we can have a big party down by the beach, barbecue, beer, a band and set little floating masked burglars adrift on the lagoon with lighted candles inside should we get up to 25 break-ins in one month.

Why would we designate a special month to kick PSS? Because they deserve it for not taking the necessary precautions? The lack of preparation is so blatantly visible it almost seems as if they want to have these schools vandalized and burgled. Of course they don’t really want that; it just looks that way.

Pride might help
A company that unsuccessfully provides service to 90% of its customers wouldn’t last very long. A private school that delivered graduates to community colleges with a 90% rate of needing remedial reading, math and science skills before entering that college wouldn’t last very long either. That, however, is the result of a CNMI PSS education, according to an uncharacteristic disclosure by NMC a few years back. Don’t blame the PSS high schools for this miserable state of affairs, or the middle schools, or the elementary schools or the Kindergartens…but you can blame PSS for systemic failure to produce even minimal results for the vast majority of its clients. You have had those students in your clutches for 12 long years by the time they graduate. The least you can do is to send them off into the big wide world able to read, write, and do basic math. You have some stellar scholars that come out of the public schools with a top-notch education and skills good enough to get a few of them into first tier universities in the United States, but the other 90% aren’t even prepared for a trip to the supermarket without running into reading and math deficiencies.

Here is one possible answer. Privatize the school system. Get the government completely out of it. Use a charter school system as many areas have, or use private schools with government subsidies but no government input whatsoever on curriculum or on administrative decisions. You can even keep many of the teachers as long as you rigorously weed out the bad ones. Government has no provisions for making anyone responsible for end results. Private schools must have that individual teacher and administrative responsibility built in or they will not get the job done. They do get the job done because teachers and administrators are held personally responsible. If not privatization, then at least revamp the system so that non-producers can be shown the door.

Thanks for reading Sour Grapes!


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Bruce Bateman | Author
Bruce A. Bateman (brubat@yahoo.com) resides on Saipan with a wife, a son, and an unknown number of boonie dogs. He has owned and operated a number of unusual businesses and most recently worked as the marketing manager for MVA. Bruce likes to read, travel, tinker with bicycles, hike, swim, and play a bit of golf. He is opinionated and writes when the moon is full and the mood strikes.

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