Miura talks of teacher retention and equity


Dora Miura, the 2016 Teacher of the Year, presented to the Board of Education possible solutions to the Public School System’s problem of retaining and recruiting teachers for the CNMI.

Miura, wife of teacher representative Paul Miura and a mathematics teacher at Saipan Southern High School, shared with the board her take on teacher retention and system-wide equity for school in the CNMI.

“I think it is important that they continue on to supporting this program [Teacher of the Year program]. I talked about what I have learned throughout 2016 as Teacher of the Year, and I focused on two items—teacher leadership and equity,” said Miura.

“Leadership—it’s really about teacher retention and recruitment. I know that is a really big issue here. I know that just from me being from SSHS and seeing that we have open positions that just can’t be filled, so it’s difficult to recruit and retain teachers,” she said.

Miura wants PSS to be open to advancement in the teaching profession that doesn’t mean going in the direction of school administration.

“There are five components to retention and recruitment: alternate certification, evaluation feedback, mentorship and induction, financial incentives, and teacher leadership. I focused on teacher leadership, which is giving teachers the opportunity for career advancement that is not administration,” she said.

Miura refers to teacher leadership as a sort of hybrid role—“being in the classroom part of the time but also helping other teacher the other part of the time.”

In Miura’s understanding of equity and equality, “equity means looking at where everybody is and giving them the necessary treatment to grow. It’s a growth mindset more than everybody is the same.”

“We are all different in terms of education or any other aspect,” she added.

Miura said it is equity that is needed in schools rather than equality to better suit the needs of students, “instead of applying a one-size-fits-all treatment, giving the schools the autonomy to tweak systems to suit their needs for the communities, parents, and students. I am asking the board to consider policy that has that kind of language of equity versus equality.”

The 2017 CNMI Teacher of the Year is Gerard Van Gils.

BOE chair Herman Guerrero thought the idea was interesting.

“It’s interesting. That is an excellent idea that perhaps we can [develop further] with the commissioner,” said Guerrero.

BOE board member Tanya King said that one of the problems of PSS was the lack of teachers specializing in certain subjects.

“We have teachers who are not teaching in their content area. We need to provide mentors that are highly qualified teachers within our system and if we do not have them on Rota and Tinian since we do not have the resources, we can let those teachers that have expertise in that area, just as Ms. Miura spoke about, to communicate with them via the internet and provide them with the support that they need,” she said.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.