Governor Calvo ordered the Superintendent to attach a letter to teachers’ pay checks in an attempt to explain his state of the island speech.  Unfortunately, the letter is almost as confusing as his speech.  He states, “…we support a teachers’ contract that protects you and supports high-quality education for students” and “We want teachers to be regarded with the dignity and high respect that your profession commands.”  But his plan to promote this is to take away teachers’ instructional preparation time to do the non-professional duties that are currently being done by custodians and school aides.  On top of that he wants to use child labor to help teachers clean.  He did clarify that he would keep custodial contracts to clean common areas and toilets, but not whether teachers would have to clean the toilets in their own classrooms if they have them.  This is why details need to be in writing so that everyone understands exactly what is expected of them.  Read letter here
 
PUT IT IN WRITING
We believe that on the surface these proposals would actually have the opposite effect of the Governor’s stated purpose, but an offer of a contract is purview of the workers that have to work under it. Therefore we ask the Governor to put his offer in writing.  I’m sure as a businessman the Governor knows that the “devil is in the details” so if he would put an entire contract together the union will offer it to the teachers for ratification.  Obviously this is a departure from how things were done in the past but since the Governor has implied that he doesn’t want to work with the union maybe this will work.  We have negotiated contracts via email and conference calls in nine different time zones so maybe via email on Guam might help to smooth the path.
 
REAL REFORM
The GFT has always been open to new ideas and educational reform.  Our parent union the AFT invests millions of dollars a year on research and studies to find real solutions that work.  What we have never supported are “Silver bullet” solutions that are crammed down on teachers and students from above.  One just needs to look at the abject failure of DI to see what happens when people other than teachers decide what is best for their students. 
 
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