Education Corner 10 - The C-word Revisited and the DDP

18 JAN 2016

About 10 days ago I was informed that someone was expressing some serious disagreement with the W&A (2015) EC Column—the C-word in the on-line Micronesian Forum. It is a public forum so I immediately visited that site and indeed found a headline--COM-Professor Dr. Womac and his concept of culture and change. Is he real? The reader not only was disagreeing but was quite angry. At first I was taken aback because the interpretation was certainly not my intent. When this occurs I always take it to mean I was unclear and should try again. I did so and 7-8 others joined in and some real critical thinking occurred. But the whole exercise required the initial objections. Someone must challenge in this case the authority, me. As I mentioned in one EC (The R-word) when I taught at the college I always told the students how I wished someone would just stand up and say “Dr. Womack-I disagree and here is why”. I always pointed out it is one way to develop critical thinking skills. But my students always fell back on the R-word telling me that they just cannot be disrespectful to an old man-a professor-a doctor. This is actually why I enjoyed the criticisms and joined in the discussions and as always— learned some more about Pohnpeians and Pohnpeian Culture. EC readers can view the various discussions at the Micronesian Forum and see folk’s opinions on many topics. I will now visit myself at least monthly as I did several years ago.
However the discussions force me to repeat several points EC has mentioned earlier
• Dr. Womack is no longer a professor at COM-FSM
• Womack and Associates (2015) is simply a group of professors who are “standing ready” to help train teachers and write textbooks and other much needed curriculum materials as called upon.
• Dr. Womack is a voluntary point person for W&A (2015) and serves as spokesperson, develops specific training and curriculum proposals, and writes the Education Corner. He is the Senior Associate—because he is the oldest of all Associates and he is real
• Always feel free to mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions or criticisms. These are always answered within 24 hours. We accept all questions even those we are unable to answer—when that happens we will say so. If you want to air complaints publically that’s fine too.
• W&A (2015) has only one current project with Pohnpei State titled Data for Decision Making Project (DDP)
Data for Decision Making
All the Education corners to date were written with this project in mind. We introduced you to little Willy doing first grade math and sister Willymina doing first grade addition problems. One had 80% and improvement was simple. The other missed four out of five and improvement may take more time. It was pointed out that it is the wrong answers that we actually want to look at. That tells us the improvement areas. Further, we introduced topics as need for evidence; FSM Accreditation; the R-word and C-word, standards and benchmarks; getting students to school and on time; Student Learning Outcomes; and assessment for improvement. But these were just preliminary to the project. We were trying to do a little education about Pohnpei schools, the teachers and the students and test scores on National examinations. We stated that educators, parents, and the community at large wishes to see improvement. Everyone does. But it is very possible. We firmly believe that improving students requires improving teachers. When we do this student scores will improve. This is an obvious truism but is sometimes ignored.
During the next several months we will test all elementary teachers on the science and social studies standards. This enables us to see the strengths of the teachers and weaknesses of the teachers. It is on these weaknesses where specific focus for Continuing Education can improve individual teachers. We can see individual school weaknesses and like groups of weaker teachers and treat them. We treat teachers as we expect teachers to treat students—that is when they don’t do well we offer a prescription—as do doctors. By focusing on teacher weakness we know where and to whom to offer Continuing Education. We know of no profession where Continuing Education in not found and usually it is required. At the same time the project focuses on the School Principal and the role of the school’s curriculum leader. This role is critical as we all work with a new system that grants all schools more independence. The demands on the school principal are almost over whelming. This project adds one more. Get your teachers into Continuing Education and see to their improvement.
And At the same time we shall inventory all science and social studies curriculum in each classroom in every school. We shall see where there are needs for new textbooks. These should be written at grade level using our local environment the reference. Next EC we will do “Making Relevant Curriculum. We think many of you will learn quite a bit from this upcoming topic.