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DCCA’s Hunter: PSS bilingual program asked for our help

DEPARTMENT of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter said it was the Public School System’s bilingual program that approached the Indigenous Affairs Office to discuss the shortage of Chamorro and Carolinian Bilingual Program teachers, and then worked with the DCCA offices of the Chamorro and Carolinian Language Policy Commission and the Commonwealth Council for Arts and Culture and the Carolinian Affairs Office to come up with a temporary certification program to help address the lack of PSS local language teachers.

“Our agencies didn’t get together and decide to put together a certification for PSS teachers,” Hunter said, referring to DCCA, the Carolinian Affairs Office and the Indigenous Affairs Office.

Robert Hunter

“They [the PSS bilingual program] came to us. Their [human resources] staff was there at the first day of meeting. Their bilingual program staff was also present and participating in the development of the plan and they had staff on the last day, too.”

He said he also learned that the teacher shortage issue has already been brought to the attention of the Board of Education.

“They have been looking for various ways to address this,” he added.

Hunter, Carolinian Affairs Office Executive Assistant John Tagabuel and Indigenous Affairs Office and Resident Executive Roman Tudela Jr. have signed a memorandum of agreement to develop an alternative certification program for Chamorro and Carolinian language teachers.

Since 2011, the number of PSS local language teachers has decreased from about 60 to 34 due in part to the requirement that they must pass Praxis I and II tests and must have at least 24 credit units from an accredited college.

In an earlier interview, BOE member Herman T. Guerrero expressed disappointment with the plan to develop a temporary certification program, saying the board was never consulted.

Hunter said Guerrero was probably not updated with what PSS staff was doing to try to alleviate the situation with the local language program.

“We are here to help,” Hunter said. “We are glad to provide our technical assistance, our expertise. We would certainly never want to overstep our bounds.”

He said the issue “is under the purview of the board and PSS — they are autonomous agencies. We have no authority over them and we wouldn’t attempt to usurp their authority.”

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/98888-dcca-s-hunter-pss-bilingual-program-asked-for-our-help

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