“Your average student on Guam has no idea what the Organic Act is because some teachers will touch up on it, but it’s not in any of their Social Studies history books,” Michael Bevacqua, Decolonization Commission.
Guam – Math, English, Science, and now decolonization will be added to our public school curriculum. Students ranging from K through 12th grade will now have the added advantage of learning our island’s unique history and culture.
Next year, Social Studies class might look a lot more localized now that Guam Department of Education is considering implementing new decolonization curriculum across the 34 campuses. According to Decolonization Commission member Michael Bevacqua, the curriculum focuses on our island’s history, local laws, and self-determination.
“As political status discussions have evolved over the past couple of decades, there’s always been talk of changing the DOE curriculum to reflect a more local experience, because social studies curriculum currently in Guam public schools is very US based, and it doesn’t really address the unique history of Guam or our unique status with the United States,” he explained.
Joe Sanchez, GDOE’s Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum tells PNC: “This framework is designed for a curriculum meant for a full K12 program as it starts with the foundation in the early years and then progresses into deeper material as students get older. It provides a skeleton of what can be the foundation for a curriculum on Decolonization, Self-determination and the three options presented to us.”
Bevacqua tells PNC why the need for a local perspective is needed: “The average student doesn’t understand what the Organic Act is, they’re taught what the US constitution is. And even in our meetings with Independent Guahan, your average student on Guam has no idea what the Organic Act is, because some teachers will touch up on it, but it’s not in any of their Social Studies history books. So really, this goes beyond the decolonization and plebiscite, but it should be part of a larger goal of making sure that our curriculum is relevant to the history of this place, to the experience of the students, and to the future of this place,” he said.
Bevacqua adds that this curriculum is a long term goal for GDOE. There was discussion on a more short-term decolonization education campaign, but that would potentially be implemented after a plebiscite date is set.