People who know me know there is no shame in my game and I will be the first to apologize when I’m wrong, but. I was obviously wrong about Mr. Guerrero’s choice for the COE post and I was also wrong about the three board members who did vote for Mrs. Guerrero and were not influenced by Mr. Guerrero so I humbly and respectfully apologize to all of you. But I hope that everyone can understand how I came to those conclusions, given my past experiences and with the board and what happened to Mr. Raulerson. I am also glad that Mrs. Guerrero did do the right thing by not participating in the HR decision to lower the standard to a master’s degree. In fact, I was really puzzled about that as I stated because Mrs. Guerrero does have the equivalency of a doctorate given her experience so the change was not really for or against her qualification. Finally, I was glad to see the board ask the AG to review the issue, which should put it to rest.
But I still have the same concerns I raised in my previous opinion, which was: 1. CNMI teachers have the worst contracts of all the teachers in America. What is the board going to do to help our new commissioner with retaining teachers instead of making it easy to get rid of teachers? I know for a fact that a certain BOE member knew all about how Mr. Raulerson was being mistreated at MHS and how the principal was against him and his winning program but she didn’t lift a finger to help him or try to stop his unfair termination—sad and even a failure to try and perform her fiduciary duty to change policy. 2. The need for PSS to become a leader in the CW transition issue by moving from an all-academic curriculum to a predominately vocational/academic curriculum as an overwhelming majority of our graduating students can’t afford or don’t want to go to college. The CW issue has the potential to transform the CNMI socially, economically and politically forever and we have only one chance to get it right. A few do trickle back from the mainland but we need as many as possible to stay! The institution of the researched-based and proven public service program that I proposed back in 2008 or something similar needs to be one of the BOE’s and the commissioner’s priorities, which will help students with experience and jobs in their careers in the CNMI, employers with free trainee labor, lighten the teacher load as students will be doing OJT (on the job training), and it will help the local population to retain as much sovereignty as possible in controlling government. 3. BOE and the governor need to do their job and honor the CNMI Constitution as you are violating the law and your oath by committing a civil offense in not working together to place a teacher rep on the board. Please fix this constitutional violation that the board and previous governors have ignored. The BOE must first formally request for the post to be filled, which they never did and then the governor must initiate the teacher rep. election through his representative, who will work with PSS and the Board of Elections—this is how it was previously done. Not following the law is truly an insult to your oaths and to the people for not “defending and protecting” every word in our Constitution. I’m sure the AG will agree so please BOE ask him about this law too or get busy fixing it.
Finally, I do hope that everyone with a stake in our education system will say a prayer with me for Mrs. Guerrero should she be retained because she will need all of us, especially parents and BOE to support and help with the big job she will have on her hands. Like I said before, I had no doubt that she was qualified to do the job and she certainly has the work ethic to handle the tremendous load that needs to be done and the fact is we must all move on once the AG has spoken. I will be praying for her success and I hope readers will also say a prayer for her because her success will be the success for thousands of our children, hundreds of staff, dozens of employers in the private sector and the tens of thousands living in the CNMI as her success will be our success!
Ambrose M Bennett
Former teacher/BOE member