An Outlying Area that Is Part of the Compact of Free Association

Guam’s need to disaggregate student data by ethnic subgroups was prompted both by the reporting requirements of the Compact of Free Association (COFA), and by the need to keep track of the rapidly growing and diversifying student populations in need of appropriate services. One result of the COFA was that citizens from the neighboring islands of the Republic of Palau, the Republic of
the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia were authorized “unrestricted immigration into the United States, its territories and possessions, enabling citizens of these nations to enter into, lawfully engage in occupations, and establish residence as non-immigrant aliens” (Office of the Governor, Government of Guam, 2015).

A wave of migration started in 1986 at a slow pace, but has increased steadily in the last 10 years. Student demographics in Guam’s public schools today differ greatly from a decade ago due to the rapidly increasing enrollment of Compact island students. In 1986, students from Compact islands were grouped in the data system as FAS, or Freely Associated States. Today, there are important accounting reasons to have accurate student counts by the various Compact island racial/ethnic subgroups—such as Chuukese,Yapese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, Palauan, and Marshallese—because each correctly identified Compact island student increases the total cost of providing educational services which, in turn, will “release, reduce, or waive, in whole or in part, any amounts owed to the United States Government as an offset for past un-reimbursed Compact impact costs by their respective governments” (Office of the Governor, Government of Guam, 2015).
How the Change Was Made
Guam public schools contain at least 21 main racial/ethnic subgroups. The three highest in number as of September 30, 2015, are Chamorros (48.6 percent), Freely Associated States (25.8 percent), and Filipinos (21.9 percent). To provide an accurate FAS student enrollment count to the U.S. Department of the Interior (that is, to provide an enumeration for all sectors coordinated by the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans, Office of the Governor of Guam), Guam disaggregates the FAS subgroup even further, into the Chuukese,Yapese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, Palauan, and Marshallese subgroups.

The district made the change by

• training school computer operators how to use the new ethnic/racial groups (as well as other student information groups that were adjusted or adopted at the same time);
• altering the student registration form to include the racial/ethnic subgroups, using the two- part question;
• informing families of students whose ethnicity was unknown, unspecified, or undetermined in the system about the need to identify or re-identify their student; and
• asking students to re-identify themselves using the new form.

In order to most effectively communicate with families, the Guam Department of Education made announcements during parent-teacher conferences and Parent Leadership Committee meetings. Translators were available, as needed, to ensure that the information was understood appropriately.
Data Quality
Because of the influx of Compact island migrants in the past 5 years, collecting accurate and complete student demographic information became an especially important task of the data quality team. The data quality team is led by the Administrator of Research, Planning & Evaluation (RP&E) division, in cooperation with the Financial, Student & Administrative Information Systems division. It is composed of computer operators from each school who are trained to
(1) use the new groups in the SIS and (2) ensure data quality and confidentiality by referencing the Forum Curriculum for Improving Education Data and the Forum Guide to Implementing New Federal Race and Ethnicity Categories. The data quality team implements a thorough quality check before the official student enrollment as of September 30 is published by RP&E, and through the school year.
Using the Disaggregated Data
An accurate disaggregated student count by racial/ethnic subgroups is critical to the Guam Department of Education due to the dollar amount attached to each correctly identified Compact island student. The Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans collects annual enumeration data from the Department (as well as from other Guam agencies providing health, housing, safety, and other services to the alien immigrants from the Compact islands) on disaggregated racial/ethnic identification of FAS students (due annually on February 1). As of school year 2014-15, the total number of FAS students who received full education services was 7,499, at the cost of $8,863 per pupil. A running total cost of Compact island students enrolled from school year 2003-04 to school year 2013-14 was over $375 million (see figure 16).

In addition to helping Guam assess costs and reimbursements, keeping track of racial/ethnic data also helps it develop intervention programs for students—and not only students from the Compact islands, but also many other migrants, such as students from Asia (e.g., Filipino students who comprise 21 percent of the Guam student population).
Assessment and discipline data are disaggregated by racial/ethnic identification to provide planners, program managers, and policymakers with correct data to help them design new education programs and services and adjust existing programs and services in light of the rapid influx of a diverse student population.
Lessons Learned
The Guam Department of Education found that disaggregating data based on new student subgroups was not a difficult task. However, lessons were learned regarding several “less obvious” details that turned into major considerations for the Department as it implemented its change:

• Using citizenship was not enough. The COFA was signed in 1986 and amended in 2003, so many Compact island migrants who long ago settled in Guam have since given birth. These children, by virtue of Guam being a U.S. territory, are U.S. citizens. Guam considered the question of whether these children
should be counted as Compact island migrants, but decided against it. As a result, merely disaggregating the data by racial/ethnic subgroups was not enough for Guam to gain the data it needed. Cross-tabulating the racial/ethnic subgroups by citizenship and place of birth became a necessary additional step when accounting for students whose racial/ethnic subgroup is identified as FAS, but who have U.S. citizenship and are not included in the Compact island count.

Chapter 3: Case Studies 51
Case Study 5: Guam Department of Education

• Convene stakeholder meetings. Meetings organized by the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans became necessary to develop a deeper understanding of “service hours” provided to Compact island students.While Guam education service hours are fixed, there are other services provided by Guam outside of the regular school hours that needed to be counted. Meeting with recipients of these services helped planners better understand the nature and extent of relevant service hours.

FY 2004 FY 2006 FY 2008 FY 2010 FY 2012 FY 2014

Department of Education SY 2003-2004 SY 2005-2006 SY 2007-2008 SY 2009-2010 SY 2011-2012 SY 2013-2014
Total Students (Average Daily Membership) 29,745 29,965 30,362 30,306 30,233 30,507
Total FAS Students 4,023 4,898 5,603 5,073 6,979 7,334
Federated States of Micronesia 3,273 4,168 4,870 4,413 6,291 6,556
Chuuk 2,406 3,092 3,535 3,425 4,462 4,948
Kosrae 112 132 142 143 224 188
Pohnpei 485 610 702 381 1,218 983
Yap 270 334 386 377 387 437
Not Stated 0 0 105 87 0 0
Marshall Islands 100 96 97 118 207 138
Republic of Palau 650 634 636 542 481 640
Percent FAS Students 13.5% 16.3% 18.5% 16.7% 23.1% 24.0%
FAS Student Enrollment – Minus Baseline 3,507 4,382 5,087 4,557 6,463 6,818
Total Program Expenditure $146,094,649 $168,417,216 $186,160,966 $203,441,230 $224,505,257 $253,334,609
Per Pupil Cost $4,912 $5,620 $6,131 $6,713 $7,426 $8,304
Total FAS Students Expenditures $17,224,876 $24,628,875 $31,190,331 $30,590,69 $47,993,169 $56,617,673

Figure 16. The Guam Department of Education’s disaggregated data on student racial/ethnicity group are used to calculate the costs of educational services that will be reimbursed by the U.S. government.

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