Saturday, June 7, 2008

Meeting with BOE regarding Dr. Borja's "retirement" rescheduled

Approximately 20 teachers arrived yesterday to attend the Principal's meeting with members of the BOE regarding Dr. Borja's resignation. Unfortunately, only principals were allowed in. There was some confusion because the principals requested the meeting and at least 4 principals invited their teachers to attend. However, members of the BOE would not let us in the door. When the question as to whether this was a public meeting was raised, we were told it was not a BOE meeting, and therefore not open to the public. We did ask permission to sit in the back as observers, however this request was also denied. Several teachers expressed frustration as to whether the BOE had the right to block us from a meeting requested by principals, in which teachers were invited. (If it was a BOE meeting it should be open to the public. If it wasn't a BOE meeting, and in fact was a Principals meeting, the BOE does not control the audience.)

The BOE Chair-Woman did inform us there will be a special Board of Education Meeting regarding the resignation of Dr. Borja next Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in the Board of Education Conference Room. This meeting is open to the public. We encourage all concerned teachers and members of the public to attend. All stakeholders have a right to be informed and aware of issues surrounding PSS. As always, I will send an update after the meeting for those who are unable to attend.

Responses regarding opinions for an ACT position statement on the topic have been coming in all week. General teacher responses range from shock to anger to fear. No one who has written me supports the decision as it was made. Of course, there are those, myself included, who realize we may not have the whole story and do not want to jump to conclusions, but overall teachers are shocked and saddened.

Being as each speaker is limited to three minutes during the public comment phase of a BOE meeting, and I usually allow individual teachers and parents to speak first (I go last to add the thoughts of the organization), I thought I would compile a typed statement with teacher comments listed verbatim (names removed of course) and use the three minutes I am given to share an analogy I think sums up the way the majority of teachers feel in this situation. I'll post it below and would be interested in your opinions. If it sounds reflective of the majority of your feelings, I will share it on Thursday. If I am way off base, please let me know so I can adjust accordingly. My comments to the BOE on Thursday will be reflective of majority opinion submitted. (All individual opinions will be compiled in the written letter I deliver.)

Here's the analogy I'm thinking to share: A few years back the Board of Education selected Dr. Borja to be the driver of a vehicle we shall call PSS. There was some discussion as to whether he was perfect for the job, but nonetheless he was handed the keys. We all thought we knew where we were going. Along the road Dr. Borja may have turned left when the BOE intended him to go right. We wish the BOE had handed him a road map and given him a chance to get back on the right road, or stopped the vehicle and discussed a new driver, But throwing our driver out of a moving vehicle, puts the children and teachers of the CNMI at tremendous risk, especially when we're not sure where we're going anymore.

What are your thoughts? Too corny? In the right ball park? Way off base?

Okay, enough with the serious stuff. It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I'm hitting the beach! While I know times are troubling, I sincerely hope you are able to enjoy your vacation and a much deserved break.

As always, please let us know if there is anything the Association of Commonwealth Teachers can do to assist you.

Hope you see as many of you as possible on Thursday,
Betty Miller
ACT President

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