ASCC prez strongly supports Common Core standards
The American Samoa Community College supports the move by the Department of Education to adopt the nation wide common core standards for education, said ASCC president Dr. Seth Galeai during the college’s FY 2014 budget hearing this week.
It was also revealed during the hearing that ASCC has moved to revive its non profit foundation to seek other funding sources to assist the territory’s only institution of higher learning, which faced a deficit some three years ago due to ASG’s failure to provide full subsidy as required by law.
Responding to a committee question, Galeai said Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga attended the National Governors Association (NGA) meeting where the governors nationally came up with a “fantastic plan regarding the common core standards.”
The NGA common core standards initiative commits states and territories to develop a common core of state standards in English language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. These standards will be research and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills, according to the NGA website.
“We feel at the college—this is from the college’s perspective and we cannot tell DOE what to do — that implementing the common core standards at the K-12 level will be a fantastic model for our K-12 system to look in to,” Galeai told the budget hearing.
“Because it provides the necessary framework in order for teachers here locally to really teach our kids [for] preparation in Math and English,” he said. “Math and English are the gateway content areas that students need that will allow them to continue to a career or college pathway.”
“It’s a fantastic model and all we can do is recommend to the [DOE] director, this may be an important model for you to look into because nationally, it’s really taken hold like wildfire,” he pointed out. “A lot of K-12 systems are adopting the common core standards and hopefully our local DOE will also adopt the common core standards.”
Dr. Galeai was asked about the status of the ASG subsidy for the current fiscal year and he said it’s up to date. He was also asked about past problems in the delay by ASG in providing the subsidy, to which Galeai said, the “trouble years” for the subsidy were between 2009 and 2011, when the college didn’t receive all of its subsidy, “and the deficit occurred during those years, which was close to half a million.”
“Even today, we’re slowly trying to be a little bit above water,” he said. “We’re beginning to breathe a little bit, just as long as the subsidy doesn’t receive the same treatment we received in 2009 and 2011.”
ASCC financial person, Emi Silafau Toa, who attended the hearing with the president, added that this year has been a “huge blessing” for ASSC, which received its subsidy on time, which really helped with operations at the college.
Sen. Magalei Logovi’i, who was the ASG Treasurer during the years 2009 to 2012, said he wants his comments to be on the record, saying that the issue with the ASCC subsidy was during the time ASG had cut hours for its workforce, when the government was faced with a financial shortfall.
He said the subsidy issue not only affected ASCC but other ASG authorities.
A question was raised by committee members as to what ASCC has in place to generate their own revenue without hiking student fees. The concern here is due to a decline in federal grants.
ASCC board chairman Rev. Dr. Leanavaotaua Sekuini Seva’aetasi, who attended the hearing, responded that the college is looking at other U.S. Department of Education grants that are available, as well as other plans to be taken up with the governor.
He also said the college has revived the ASCC Foundation which met last Friday, and the foundation will help secure funds heading into the future.
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