Guam Decolonization Commissioner Members Disagree On Public School Curriculum

Who should control, oversee content of curriculum under debate

By John I Borja

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Aug. 1, 2017) – The Commission on Decolonization still is unsure how to proceed with the implementation of decolonization education in Guam’s schools.

Commissioners produced a lengthy debate Tuesday on whether or not the commission should be in charge of managing the curriculum, which would mandate teaching students topics ranging from colonial history to Guam’s political status.

The debate started when a request for a curriculum writer was brought up. Commission members Lisa Natividad and Michael Bevacqua, who are in the subcommittee addressing decolonization education, said the commission should set the scope and framework for a curriculum writer to integrate the information.

While some members agreed that the commission should take the lead, Statehood Task Force representatives and former senators Eloy Hara and Eddie Duenas said the management of the curriculum should fall under the Guam Department of Education.

“This is DOE’s function, let’s give them the ideas and information. Let them put it into the curriculum,” Hara said.

Natividad said DOE already has outlined a long-term guide on decolonization topics to teach students from kindergarten to 12th grade, but the education department does not have the resources to lead the curriculum.

From the discussion she had with DOE Deputy Superintendent Joe Sanchez, Natividad said, the department seemed to lean toward the idea that the commission is better suited to augment the curriculum.

According to Natividad, Sanchez said the augmentation wouldn’t need to go through a lengthy review by the Guam Education Board as it’s not a curriculum overhaul. Additionally, DOE would be using much of the resources it already has to revamp the curriculum to include decolonization information, Natividad said.

Vice Speaker Therese Terlaje asked to table the motion for a curriculum writer until the education subcommittee can draft a plan to pave the way for such a position. The subcommittee is scheduled to reconvene Thursday to address the issue.

The curriculum in part is meant to equip future generations with the knowledge necessary to decide on Guam’s political future. The island’s political status choices are free association, independence and statehood. It is unclear when a plebiscite vote on political status will occur.

Pacific Daily News
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Comments

This is a very important dialogue for Guam. It really is a big step and wish them the best in their effort to work together.

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