Guam Decolonization Commissioner Concerned About Value Of Education Plan

Effort to education students who may not be able to vote in plebiscite questioned

By Jerick Sablan 

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, July 6, 2017) – A member of the Commission on Decolonization said he has reservations about a long-term education plan for a vote that will take place the near future.

Eddie Duenas, from the statehood task force, said during a meeting Wednesday, that a Guam Department of Education plan to teach students about the issue won’t be very helpful for the actual vote.

With limited funding, the commission should focus on a short-term education plan for people who will be able to vote, Duenas said.

However, it’s unclear when a plebiscite vote will take place. In March, a federal judge ruled that a law allowing only native inhabitants to vote on political status is unconstitutional. Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson filed an appeal to the ruling.

The self-determination plebiscite was to be a non-binding vote, with people choosing between independence, free association or statehood as their preferred relationship with the U.S.

Other members of the commission said having both a long- and short-term education plan would be a good thing moving forward, especially with the uncertainty of when a vote will take place.

Gov. Eddie Calvo, the chairman of the commission, has previously said he would like a plebiscite vote to happen in 2018.

Jose Garrido, from the free association task force, said regardless of when the vote will take place, he’d like students to know about Guam’s colonial history.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2017 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

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It is a very good idea for Guam schools to teach subject matter such as Guam's political relationship with the US, inalienable rights to self-determination, and Guam history, economy, and laws related to the hopes and aspirations of the Chamorro and the people of Guam. Experienced educators can help new teachers to use this subject matter as a platform for teaching critical thinking, responsible citizenship, and making informed choices based on a broader range of perspectives. It's likely that new learning resources will have to be developed. Done this way, it changes from a short-term project to a comprehensive and integrated educational program. It can start from Elementary schools to high school to college. When mainstream curriculums do not include native history, language, culture and diverse perspectives, the student experience is made poorer as a result. Include it and you give students a richer learning experience. (from American Samoa)

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