Wednesday, December 19, 2007

James Yangetmai's take

Happy holidays fellow teachers!

I’ve given the BOE teachers’ rep and the ACT a long and serious thought and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s NOT about Ms. Betty Miller that is at stake, but the ACT and our teaching profession. My mind and heart tells me to vote for Ms. Miller to stay on as the ACT president and serve as our teachers’ representative to the CNMI BOE, but deep down I can see and feel the conflict that her role as the acting VP of San Vicente Elementary School poses for our organization and teaching profession. The credibility of our organization and teaching profession are at stake, and I believe that’s what all of us would want to protect.

Like most of you I’ve known Ms. Miller for a long time, and I know how good of a person she is. I also know how hard she’s been working to ensure that our concerns are being addressed, but I strongly feel that Ms. Miller has to understand that she has been given a new responsibility which dictates that she MUST surrender her leadership and should not seek out the role of the CNMI teachers’ rep. The newly adopted ACT bylaws may clearly state that the ACT president should be the one appointed as the teachers’ rep, but I am certain that IT DOES NOT state that the ACT president can be a school administrator who should also serve as the teachers’ rep to BOE.

Be mindful that the foremost purpose of ACT and BOE teachers’ representative is to allow teachers (not administrators) the opportunity to address and voice their concerns to school administrators. There is absolutely no question that the intent of ACT is to have an exclusive group for teachers and teachers only. At least that was the intention when the group was formed in 1986 (not 1991 as that was the year the organization was chartered. I know that because I am one of the few original members that are still around and want to be associated with ACT.) I believe the BOE teachers’ representative was also set up exclusively for that purpose.

As far as I know, with the exception of Mrs. Jovita Masiwemai, all of our previous ACT officers and BOE representatives have graciously yielded their teachers’ leadership once they were promoted to administrator positions. I believe our very own PSS Commissioner had to do just that when he was assigned to be the active principal of Hopwood. (He was the teachers’ representative to the PSS BOE at the time.) I know that Mr. Joe Borja (our very first president of ACT), Jerry Jordan, and Pastor Gagarin to name a few gladly gave up their ACT leadership roles to ensure the integrity of our organization. The issue here is the integrity of ACT and the teachers’ rep to BOE.

There is currently a school administrators’ organization on island that meets frequently to address issues of the various schools in the commonwealth. I am sure that that organization would never allow a teacher to be a leader of the group.

As I mentioned above I gave this issue a serious thought and I came to the conclusion that if it was someone else other than Ambrose Bennett who raise this concern I am sure many of you would oppose to having a school administrator serving as our ACT president and BOE representative. I am against the idea because I don’t believe it is right to have a school administrator as our teachers’ representative on either organization.

I believe many of you are speaking up in support of who should be representing us because of the person who is in-line (according to the ACT bylaws) to replace the current teachers rep, but you have to understand that it’s the organization and our teaching profession that are at stake here. Please understand that I am NOT against Ms. Miller. I would throw all my support behind here if she was a full time PSS teacher. All I want to do is to protect the integrity of ACT and the teachers’ rep position. I am sure that if the intend of ACT and the BOE representation was for the school administrators, the titles would be known as Association of Commonwealth School Administrators (ACSA) and School Administrators representative to the BOE.

Have A Happy Holidays!

James Yangetmai

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