Have we considered all our options?


This week some of our kids will be back in school full-time and others will be attending as part-timers—something like six hours of class time for some students versus three hours of class time for others. Somehow, we’ve elected to call them “double-session schools” which is a misnomer at best and disingenuous if we’re being truthful. Kids aren’t attending double sessions; they’re taking half-days.

I’m of the understanding that the Public School System has conceded to the fact that those schools cannot be fixed, much less ready for full-time classes for at least the remainder of the year, if not longer.

So in spite of the silence in response to my last set of inquiries, here are some more questions: Are the full-time schools ready to absorb kids from “out-of-zone”? I thought about enrolling mine outside of my village school. And if not, how do we justify offering one set of students full-time schooling while telling others that they need to accept half-time status? As students of our Public School System, aren’t they all entitled to equitable services from our school system and aren’t we obligated to ensure equitable services to all? Maybe we can look at this as less of a legal question as much as it is a moral one?

Or, maybe more importantly, have we considered or explored alternatives to simply leaving some students in the lurch? Are we really throwing our hands up and saying that there is nothing more we can do?

As an example, I took a teaching job at San Vicente Elementary School in 1995 when I was handed an anomaly of a schedule that we called the “track system.” If memory serves me right, the track system was implemented as a means to cope with not having enough classrooms to accommodate the number of students at that time. It took building more classrooms before the school system was able to adjust to a “regular” school year schedule. The track system worked well given the circumstances (not too much unlike the circumstances today). 

Personally (as a teacher), I really enjoyed the track system; of course, people had differing opinions about how good or bad it was for the students. I have a feeling the mere mention of it might stir up some naysayers. Still, I’d say without hesitation that the track system would be far more beneficial to our students today than the proposed half-day cop-out that we’re offering. 

The point and primary question is, have we considered other options besides the half-day schedules? If not, why not? And if so, what are they? Why haven’t we (the public) heard about them? Can anything else be done? I’d really like to know—only four more days until classes begin.

Again, my apologies to any of you who may take offense to my questions and/or my tone…airing frustrations/concerns is never easy.

Jim Rayphand
San Vicente, Saipan

Jim Rayphand

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