On June 4-5, 2012, the Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture (CTFLC), spearheaded by Ms. Rosalina Idos, CTFLC President, supported Filipino Teachers who recently received “pink slips.” The CTFLC members with students and community members attended the School Site Council (SSC) meeting at Alexander Graham Bell Middle School and at Morse High School. They sought assistance and appealed for support from Mr. Michael Dodson, Bell’s Principal and Mr. William Laine, Morse’s Assistant Principal, to keep the Filipino classes and their Filipino teachers.
Both schools cater to a large population of Filipino students who greatly benefit from this Filipino Language Program. Bell Middle School has 35% Filipino student population while Morse has 46% of Filipino student population. For this reason, the CTFLC as well as the students and community members actively participated during the meeting to keep the Filipino classes and their teachers. Joshua Martinez, a student at Bell Middle School, spoke about how Ms. Jacquilin Magat, a Filipino Teacher, the Filipino class and GK Club had changed and influenced him to become a better person and become an active participant at school. In addition, Ms. Wulfilda Galvante, a retired Sweetwater teacher and CTFLC Board Member, emphasized that Filipino classes originated at Bell and Morse High School and it is imminent that these Filipino classes should stay in these schools. Moreover, Ms. Rosalina Idos cited that in an Order of Adoption of the Proposed Decision of the Judge of the Office of the Administrative Hearings (OFA) In the Matter of the Accusation/Non-Reemployment of Certified Employees of the San Diego Unified SD, item No. 5 states that the “Education Code section 44955 allows the Governing Board to deviate from terminating a certificated employee in order of seniority by virtue of their competence, credential(s), assignment, and the specific needs of the District and its students. The Superintendent or designee may deviate from seniority order in order to retain certain certificated employees in specific programs, courses, or courses of study, based on special training and experience.” With this provision, the community is expecting that the Filipino teachers who received “pink slip” will retain their position because their position requires specific training and credential serving a specific group of students.
Towards the end of the SSC meetings, both Mr. Dodson and Mr. Laine made pronouncements that they will retain the Filipino classes in their respective schools. However, they clarified and emphasized that they cannot make unilateral decisions regarding rehiring the same teachers because they have to follow the process as outlined by the district’s procedure. Nevertheless, they would fight to keep the same teachers because of their excellent performance and impact to students and the program. While these are certainly reassuring words from the school administrators, the students, community members and CTFLC will continue to closely monitor these developments and strongly advocate and work towards a favorable outcome of this issue.