Re-labeled School Needs Regulation

February 1, 2010

The problematic Ladera International School of Saipan (LISS) has done what many questionable companies in the CNMI have done. It has re-labled itself and is attempting to make a comeback as WISE, Western International School of Excellence.

A former teacher states that Anne Park (alias Sun Yong Kim), the Korean who is being sued by several past employees for serious labor abuses and was said to have been jailed in Korea, is now the sole owner of the school. Reportedly she has divorced her husband and former co-owner, Yong Nam Park.

A few of the former teachers have returned to the school and there is currently a new part-time principal.

The school is said to be targeting students from South Korea. A source says that classes average 2-4 students.

Recently it was reported that Governor Fitial was in Taiwan pushing edu-tourism where Taiwanese students could study English and other subjects in the CNMI. Fitial was a chief backer of the Ladera School and even had his endorsement along with one by the MVA on the school's web page.

Before the CNMI government expands on the idea of edu-tourism it needs to establish strict regulations and have continuing oversight of all private schools on Saipan. Schools are not merely businesses and must have qualified teachers, high academic standards, and focus on student safety and success rather than profit.  Failure to meet basic educational standards will result in another black eye for Commonwealth and further tarnish its already poor reputation.

I have received allegations from teachers and foreign workers employed by two Saipan schools that allege human trafficking, false imprisonment and unpaid wages. Additionally, there have been serious allegations of fraud concerning reports to TRACS.  It's time to regulate CNMI private schools to protect the most vulnerable of all clients -children.


Anonymous said...

Who would put their child in this school? only someone who was tricked, a teacher at the school, or a Korean who took the bait. This is sad. In another week we'll be reading about how teachers didn't get paid again.

Anonymous said...

Is Maya B. Kara still the attorney for WISE like she formerly was for LISS?

Or did they run out of money to pay her?

Too bad Ombudsperson Pamela S. Brown doesn't have subpoena authority. Maybe that is something Kilili could work on.

In the meanwhile, ICE approves foreign students at U.S. schools. Maybe they could investigate.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 11:27

I had no idea that ICE approved foreign students at these schools. Please can you email me and give me a contact person for the CNMI ICE division and any more information that you may have. I would like to contact them and share some documentation.

Kara was the attorney for LISS? Really? Interesting!

Schools that operate as fronts for foreigners to enter the US should be closed down. The link in the first comment is very eye-opening.

Don't US DOL and US DOJ partner with the Ombudsman's Office? Don't they have subpoena power? Is the US DOL Office doing any investigative work on the companies that do not pay employees? Tinian Dynasty comes to mind. CHC not paying nurses and not paying their housing allowance comes to mind. (The CNMI government is probably exempt through some stupid loophole, just like public schools are exempt from OSHA laws through a stupid loophole.) Does US DOL need formal complaints to investigate a company or could they be proactive and be checking out companies just from tips, news stories and word of mouth? I haven't seen them file a case in ages unless they are secret? Too bad Faye Von Wrangel is retired!

Wendy said...

Sorry. the link was not in a comment made on this post, but is in the last comment on the Hate Legislation article:

Anonymous said...
Are we seeing a return to attitudes we thought had been outgrown 15 years ago?

Hopefully the CNMI's economic desperation will not serve as an “excuse” for further victimization of aliens, like the infamous recruiting of Bangladeshi “security guards” in the mid 1990s or the bogus “Saipan University”.

Despite any short-term economic problems exacerbated by federalization, at least there is the salutary effect of enhanced border control.

The feds don't play around when it comes to educational scams.

February 2, 2011 6:02 AM

Anonymous said...

The Department of the Interior doesn't need its own subpoena authority as that is well beyond the mission and scope of the office.

The Ombudsman can indeed make referrals to DOJ. I'm not sure about DOL's subpoena power, but sometimes they get the USAO to judicially enforce administrative entry for inspections, because there is usually no DOL lawyer on the ground in the CNMI. DOL has its own litigating authority, so they would probably have all that goes along with that. Faye is sorely missed!

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the relevant ICE program.

I agree that the student immigration fraud link was eye-opening.

Coincidentally, that scam was located just a few miles from FCI Dublin, where Mrs. Santos is imprisoned for her role in the Rydlyme scandal.

Wendy said...

Thanks 11:17 for all of the information!

Anonymous said...

FYI: The former principal that followed Ladera into the grave, Jack A, is back and running things.

Just remember: Same location + same building + same owner + same principal + different name = different school