PSS needs more smarts, not more money. More money only means more nonsensical trips that could be done on Google+ or Skype, more useless payments to educational companies for outdated software, buying books and other printed materials that are outdated before they even arrive on Saipan, and more perks for administrators and teachers. It means nothing to our students who will getting the same old, outdated, lame, useless education they have been getting for the last 36 years. Its 2014, FaceTime is here folks.
The statement by Board of Education chair Herman Guerrero that “we need to look at education 20 years from now” shows how out of touch he is with reality. By the time a course syllabus is written today, it is already out of date. You guys in charge need to be thinking about what education will look like next week, not 20 years from now. I’ve asked over 300 students, “Has any teacher ever asked you what you want to study today?” The result was zero yes, 300 no. I can’t find a single adult connected with PSS that knows what education is doing around the world today. All you have to do is YouTube your grade, i.e., 11th grade classroom or 3rd grade classroom or whatever, and there are millions of videos showing what teachers in other countries are doing—and teachers in other countries are much more inventive than in the U.S. by a wide margin.
Commissioner Sablan says more money will fix all her problems. I say your curriculum is your problem. I say 1950s “teaching methods” is your problem. I say 10,000 bored, unengaged, brain-dead students is your problem. Students want to “learn” and if you will just get touch screen tablets for each student, they can teach themselves and your teachers can observe and guide where necessary. They might even actually help students that have problems at home by spotting abused or neglected kids early on. She only needs to YouTube “education in Finland” and see what they accomplish by letting each principal run their school as a separate entity.
All of you with a stake in education—students, parents, teachers, administrators and others—need to get on YouTube and do it before school starts. There are millions of new ways to let students learn that we are not, but could be, implementing here. What students need is a touch screen tablet with the 3R educational apps on them for Kinder to Grade 3, and an Internet hookup for Grades 4 to 8. After Grade 8, they need to be directed to vocational, technical or academic studies. It isn’t rocket science, but you are not going to make a rocket scientist out of a student that wants to be a cook, and you shouldn’t even try. Let them learn what they are interested in as soon as they can read, write and do ’rithmetic. Every 7th and 8th grade student needs to spend time looking at www.bls.gov too. There are over 18,000 job categories and young people here only know about 30 of them. Oh yeah, stop teaching American measurements, 80 percent of the people in the CNMI use metrics. Congratulations, Loria Hocog. I can’t find a single item, anywhere on the Web, ever said or any accomplishment ever achieved by any of your predecessors. I hope you will be a transparent, vocal, in your face (BOE’s face) student rep. I also hope you know you are getting short-changed in your education.
Chalan Piao, Saipan