Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hearing focuses on education

Hearing focuses on education

By Dionesis Tamondong
Pacific Daily News
January 26, 2010

At the peak of the military buildup in 2014, Guam's Department of Education will need up to six new schools and more than 400 new teachers to accommodate more than 6,200 new students, according to the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Education officials and lawmakers discussed the challenges anticipated for Guam's public school system with the planned military buildup during a legislative hearing yesterday evening.

The interactive town hall meeting continues today from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Legislature in Hagåtña. Village mayors and officials from the Guam's Customs and Quarantine Agency will be part of today's town hall panel.

While yesterday's hearing focused on education issues, attendees were invited to share any other concerns or suggestions they had in regards to the buildup.

University of Guam President Robert Underwood, Guam Community College President Mary Okada, and Department of Education Superintendent Nerissa Bretania Underwood were among last night's panelists.

Some senators questioned whether Guam's educational institutions will be able to produce the number of teachers needed, and that's on top of existing teacher shortages that plague the school system each year.

Concerns were also raised over whether Guam's university and community college will be able to develop the many needed professionals in other career fields, including health, criminal justice and environment.

The Legislature is urging residents to participate and submit their comments during the hearings this week.

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