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Surviving on Guam: Education

    Guam has 26 public elementary schools, 7 middle schools, and 4 high schools. We also have the Guam Community College, and the University of Guam, both of which are public institutions. In addition, Guam has a large number of religious private schools, including Catholic, Episcopalian, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, and generic "Christian." We used to have a fine little Baha'i school, but it closed in 1999. A few years ago, the military established a separate Department of Defense school system for military dependents. This was done because the public school system on Guam is so awful. 
    Yes, the school situation on Guam is just plain awful, and unfortunately there is no good news/ bad news here. Okay, I'll try to find something good to say, and this is it: there are some good teachers, even excellent teachers, here on Guam. Another good thing is Guam's Gifted-and-Talented (GATE) Program, but children get too little time in it for it to do much good. But even a little is better than nothing.
 
    If you have a child in the school system, that child can expect to be bullied, sexually harassed, and beaten up. In most of the schools, nothing is done about these problems, or if something is done, the procedure usually involves punishing the victim along with the bully. This leads to even more bullying, because the child who is basically well-behaved is afraid of getting into trouble, and therefore fears to lift a finger to defend him or herself, whereas the bully doesn't mind getting into trouble at all. If the victim seeks help, he or she gets into trouble for tattling. It is the publicly stated viewpoint of many teachers here that teasing and bullying are normal parts of childhood that make the victim stronger and teach children how to get along with other people. Some teachers even side with the bullies, claiming that their victims deserve what they get. The rule of thumb here is that nothing significant will be done to curb a bully until he puts a victim into the hospital. A few of the private schools attempt to control bullying.
 
    If the child is in middle school or high school, that child can expect to witness classmates mating, gambling and doing drugs in the school bathrooms. Bathrooms are also places to go to get beaten up. 
    The teachers are underpaid in comparison with mainland US teachers, and on top of that have to endure a higher cost of living here. The schools are chronically short of textbooks, library books, toilet paper, school supplies and copying equipment. Teachers end up having to supply their classrooms out of their own paychecks. Some science classrooms have no running water or no electrical outlets, making it difficult to impossible to conduct labs. Some of the high schools and middle schools have bizarre class schedules with classes lasting only thirty minutes. At the secondary school level, the standards for teacher certification are very low. Teachers are not even required to have a bachelor's degree in the subject they are teaching. Absenteeism among teachers is very high. Sometimes teachers simply vanish. The GovGuam fiscal year ends at the end of September, so many teachers retire at that time, a month into the school year. There is no money in the budget to hire substitutes, so the kids are either watched by a school aide or sent to the cafeteria for the period. 
    Vandalism of schools has continued to be a significant problem. Many teachers have lost years worth of accumulated teaching materials. 
    Not surprisingly, Guam's standardized testing scores rank along with Washington DC down at the bottom of the national pile. 
    So, what do you do if you have a school-aged child? Well, some parents agree with the trial-by-fire approach (or have no other choice) and send their children to the public schools. Many children are capable of educating themselves in this environment in spite of the school system. Chances of your child's survival are improved if you can get your child into a classroom with a good teacher. The problem is, to get a certain teacher, you have to have connections. The same applies for sending a child out of district to another public school. You can do that if you have connections. You can also improve your children's chances of surviving public school if you spend a lot of time tutoring them in the evenings, and enroll them in martial arts classes. 
    If you don't have connections, but do have money, you can try the various private schools. There are no secular private schools on Guam. The closest thing to it is St. Johns, the Episcopal school.
 But tuition and fees there will run you almost $10,000 per year. The other private schools run about $2000 per year for tuition, but they are very strongly religion-oriented, which is perfectly okay if you happen to belong to that religion, but is less palatable if you don't. Many of the private schools have even lower standards for teacher qualifications than do the public schools. All-in-all, the private schools don't seem to be a whole lot better than the public schools. 
    If you belong to the military, you can send your child to the Department of Defense school, which has a pretty good reputation. 
    The only other on-island solution is homeschooling. A lot of people do it here, including us. 
    The school system in place here is probably the number-one injustice being perpetrated against the people of Guam.

    Note: A great many people have written to me to say that this discussion agrees with what they or their children have experienced. One person wrote to say that he was beaten up and urinated upon almost daily in high school. A few people have written to disagree with what I have said, and to question on what I have based my statements about Guam's schools. It is this: My children both served time in Guam's schools, as did the children of hundreds of friends and acquaintances. The above statements were based on our and their experiences. 
    Some people apparently do come through the Guam school system unscathed. If you are one of those - congratulations! I've just never met any of you personally, and this account is based on the experiences with which I am familiar. Like my friend whose nephew was hospitalized when another kid drove a pencil through his skull. Like my daughter who was sexually harassed in fourth grade at Yigo Elementary. Like the nine-year-old girl who "couldn't join any of the gangs because [she] was the only Brazilian there." Like the daughter of a colleague who couldn't use the bathroom at school all day because it was too dangerous. Like the son of a Chuukese friend who was beaten up daily for the crime of being Chuukese... 
      Like the 10-year-old girl was beaten to death by two classmates on the way home from school.

    So, if your children are among the lucky few who thrive in Guam schools, perhaps you can teach them to be gentler and kinder to those who are being abused. If you are a teacher at a Guam school, be more alert and sensitive to what is going on among your students, and don't tolerate the bullies. And if you think that everything at the Guam schools is as wonderful as a few of you claim, you are either part of the problem or are totally oblivious to what is going on around you or your children. Ignoring problems does not make them go away. Acknowledging that a problem exists is the first step in dealing with the problem, and that is the main reason this education section is on this website. NO child, not one single child, not even someone else's child, should have to suffer abuse in school.

The University of Guam (UOG)

    In our family, we had two UOG professors and one UOG undergraduate, so this is based on our own experiences. UOG has between 3000 to 4000 students, and almost 200 faculty. In 2000, the WASC Accreditation Agency placed UOG on probation. After two years of extensive restructuring and addressing of problems, UOG is off probation and is fully accredited. Check out the UOG website.

For students:

    Students can get a good, solid, relatively inexpensive education at the University of Guam. Most faculty members care deeply about their students (something that was extensively commented upon in the recent WASC Accreditation report), the class sizes are small, and students get a lot of personal attention. Because of the small class sizes, professors can afford to assign a lot of writing, research and hands-on projects. Many UOG undergraduates get practical experiences that other students wouldn't get until graduate school. The University has an open admissions policy. Students with weak backgrounds in math and/or English can catch up to the college level with developmental courses. 
    The University of Guam has a solid biology program with an excellent record of getting its graduates into medical school, veterinary school, and graduate school. (I would advise you to take freshman chemistry somewhere else and transfer the credits, however.) Biology students have the advantage of studying in a tropical environment with reefs that provide a natural laboratory. The biology department also boasts a world-renowned herbarium. For graduate students, the Marine Lab provides a world-class marine biology program, although it has been gutted recently due to faculty attrition. (One can hope that the departing faculty will be replaced, but prospective students might want to ask about this.) The graduate Environmental Sciences program is also excellent. 
    For students interested in the Pacific and/or Asian area, UOG offers courses in Tagalog, Chamoru, Chuukese, Japanese and Chinese languages. There is a Micronesian Studies program for graduate students, and both grads and undergrads can select from a variety of courses in history, sociology, anthropology and philosophy that specialize in issues pertaining to the region. 
    The nursing program is very good, fully accredited, and offers students unusual opportunities for hands-on experiences because nursing students are used to take up some of the burden created by Guam's severe nurse shortage. 
    The communications major, the anthropology major and the theater major are another three excellent programs. UOG's theater department offers four superb productions per academic year. 
    The problems students will face going to UOG are as follows: 
    The cost of living is high, and transportation options are limited. There are a few small dorms. 
    UOG has no major in geology, physics, or engineering, The chemistry major was gutted when its premier professor retired. (The chemistry major is still available, but is not nearly as good as it was.) European language offerings are skimpy. There's no Latin, Russian or Greek, and although German is on the books, it is seldom offered. You can't get more than one year (2 semesters) of French. 
    Advice for students attending or thinking of attending UOG:
  • Review your high school math and English before taking the placement tests. Get a good snack before taking them, because they last a long time.
  • Keep a copy of any and all paperwork you submit to the Registrar or other UOG offices. They lose stuff.
  • Don't believe what the Registrar or any administrator tells you until you confirm it with an experienced faculty member.
  • Carry toilet paper with you. It may not be available in UOG's restrooms.
  • Don't go to UOG if you have severe allergies. The buildings are seldom cleaned.
  • See a faculty advisor before you register, even though you don't have to.
  • UOG works best for students who take an active role in their own education by seeking help from faculty and who look out for the interesting opportunities that are available.

For faculty:

    UOG is an alluring place to teach because of its exotic setting. 
    The students at UOG are wonderful. Their academic backgrounds tend to be poor, but they are good-natured and pleasant. Many of them are very dedicated and hard-working. You may have the pleasure of seeing a lackadaisical student suddenly catch fire when he or she gets interested in the material and figures out how to study. It is a pleasure to work with these students, and a tremendous mutual loyalty and respect exists between the students and faculty. 
    UOG has an excellent faculty evaluation program. Faculty are expected to show achievement in the fields of teaching, research/creative activity, and service. UOG is not a "publish or perish" institution. There are many ways of showing accomplishments in the various areas. The CFES manual spells out exactly how to do this, and a faculty member who reads the document, follows its procedures and listens to the advice of colleagues and deans should have no trouble getting tenured or promoted. 
    UOG has a good, strong Faculty Union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. The union and the Board of Regents negotiate a contract every few years. A newly fired-up faculty movement has established a faculty senate that has greatly improved the voice of faculty in university governance. 
    The dependents of UOG faculty may attend UOG tuition-free after a probationary semester, for the time being. This is a benefit that is negotiated into the contract, and is subject to change. 
    The pay scale was very good when we started teaching there in 1991, but it hasn't been changed since then, and now it doesn't compare well with other universities, especially considering the high cost of living on Guam. One interesting aspect of Guam's faculty pay scale is that it is the same for all faculty of a given rank, regardless of academic area. This gives us very well-paid arts faculty, and poorly-paid business faculty. 
    The University pays moving expenses to bring faculty to Guam. (This is also subject to change, and you might want to check this very carefully before accepting any offers.) 
    If you are offered a faculty position at UOG, you can be assured that you are greatly needed and that your presence will be appreciated by the students. 
    Okay, that's the good stuff. 
    GovGuam is broke, and the University has not been adequately funded for years. Right now the funding from GovGuam doesn't even cover personnel costs, let alone utilities, supplies etc. Most of UOG's tuition is going to pay back bond issues for constructing new buildings. The University is deeply and severely broke, and the administration has talked about retrenchment. 
    Buildings are poorly maintained. The Fine Arts Building was condemned because large chunks of concrete occasionally fall out of the ceiling. No one has been killed -- yet. The building was subsequently "uncondemned" because no funding was available to fix or replace it. The Fine Arts Building is another WASC concern. 
    Computer facilities for faculty are minimal. You might get one for your office, or might not. If you do get one, you may have to pay for its repairs yourself. I had to pay out of pocket to replace the hard drive of my office computer when it mildewed. (It mildewed because there was a protracted period in which there was no air conditioning in my windowless office.) 
    The library is another major concern. It has limited usefulness as a teaching tool, and virtually no value as a research tool. Journal collections are patchy at best. When money became scarce in 1996 (when the previous Governor was elected) the library lost its ability to maintain and develop its collections. 
    Sexism is a major problem in the science division. One UOG biology professor once said, "All women over forty should be rendered for lard." Very funny, yes, and it exactly sums up the way women are treated by a significant portion of the science faculty. If you are a woman thinking of applying for a science position at UOG, you'll need to have a thick skin and the willingness to fight just to get your courses scheduled. Other divisions don't seem to be as bad in this regard. 
    So, if you are thinking of coming out here to teach at UOG, there is plenty of good in this University to sustain you (especially the students), but be aware of the substantial problems. 

by Brenna Lorenz and Mike Pulte.
 



List of schools in Guam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following is a list of schools offering courses in Guam.

Contents

 [hide]

[edit]Guam Public School System schools [1]

[edit]Elementary schools

  • Agana Heights Elementary (Agana Heights)
  • Astumbo Elementary (Dededo)
  • Carbullido Elementary (Barrigada)
  • Chief Brodie Elementary (Tumon)
  • C.L. Taitano Elementary (Sinajana)
  • Daniel L. Perez Elementary (Yigo)
  • F.Q. Sanchez Elementary
  • Fineganyan Elementary (Dededo)
  • Harry S. Truman Elementary
  • Inarajan Elementary (Inarajan)
  • J.Q. San Miguel Elementary
  • Juan M. Guerrero Elementary
  • Lyndon B. Johnson Elementary
  • Maria A. Ulloa Elementary
  • Machananao Elementary (Dededo)
  • Marcial Sablan Elementary (Agat)
  • Merizo Elementary (Merizo)
  • M.U. Lujan Elementary
  • Ordot/Chalan Pago Elementary (Chalan Pago)
  • P.C. Lujan Elementary (Barrigada)
  • Price Elementary (Magnilao)
  • Talofofo Elementary (Talofofo)
  • Tamuning Elementary (Tamuning)
  • Upi Elementary (Yigo)
  • Wettengel Elementary (Dededo)

[edit]Middle schools

  • Agueda Johnston Middle School (Ordot)
  • Astumbo Middle School (Dededo)
  • F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle School (Yigo)
  • Inarajan Middle School (Inarajan)
  • Jose Rios Middle School
  • Luis P. Untalan Middle School (Barrigada)
  • Oceanview Middle School (Agat)
  • Vicente S.A. Benavente Middle School (Dededo)

[edit]High schools

  • George Washington High School (Mangilao)
  • John F. Kennedy High School (Tamuning)
  • Okkodo High School (Dededo)
  • Simon Sanchez High School (Yigo)
  • Southern High School (Santa Rita)

[edit]Department of Defense Education Activity

[edit]Private schools

  • Asumyao Community School (9-12)[4]
  • Montessori School of Guam

[edit]Catholic Schools[5]

  • Saint Anthony Catholic School (Tamuning)
  • Santa Barbara Catholic School (Dededo)
  • Academy of Our Lady of Guam (Hagtana)
  • Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School (Sinajana)
  • Dominican Catholic School (Yigo)
  • Dominican Child Care (Ordot)
  • Maria Artero
  • Mercy Heights
  • Notre Dame High School (Talofofo)
  • Father Duenas Memorial School (Mangilao)
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School (Agat)
  • Saint Francis Catholic School (Yona)
  • San Vicente Catholic School (Barrigada)
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School (Guam)

[edit]Christian Schools

  • Blessed Seed Christian Academy
  • Evangelical Christian Academy
  • Guam Adventist Academy (K-12) [4]
  • Guam International Christian Academy
  • Harvest Christian Academy (PK-12) [6]
  • Providence International Christian Academy (K-12)[1]
  • Pacific Christian Academy, Dededo K4-12
  • Southern Christian Academy (PK-12) [7]
  • St. John's School (PK-12) [4]
  • St. Paul Christian School
  • Temple Christian School-Chalan Pago (K-12)

[2]

  • Trinity Christian School (K-12) [4]

[edit]Chamorro Language Schools

  • Chief Gadao Academy of Arts, Science and Chamorro Culture (PK-12) [8]
  • Sagan Fina' na' guen Fino' Chamorro

[edit]Chinese Language Schools

  • United Chinese School

[edit]Japanese Language Schools

[edit]Colleges and universities

[edit]See also

[edit]References

 
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