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HomeNewsArchivesFYI: Sen. Davis Says Schools Are Falling Apart

FYI: Sen. Davis Says Schools Are Falling Apart

The following material is being published, unedited, exactly as it was received via e-mail from the office of the government official named below, as a Source community service. Government office holders wishing to contribute to the bulletin board must e-mailsource@viaccess.net The Source reserves the right to choose what is published.
Schools Falling Apart at the Seams Due to Lack of Accountability and Leadership—Senator Liston Davis
Sept. 15, 2005 – Chair of the Committee on Education, Culture and Youth, Sen. Liston Davis, said that recent developments within the public educational system are symptomatic of a lack of accountability within the Department of Education and the need for an urgent change of leadership within the organization, before the department reaches a stage where it will be difficult if not impossible to rescue it from the morass, neglect, misleadership and lethargy to which it has fallen under the present Commissioner.
Significantly, with respect to recent developments at John H. Woodson Jr. High School, the woes at the facility were well revealed in the public hearings held earlier this year by the Committee on Education, Culture & Youth said Senator Liston Davis.
"Thus, the Commissioner of Education was well aware of the problems and did nothing to correct them. In fact, instead of taking corrective action, the Commissioner embarked on a public relations campaign, incorrectly claiming that our public schools were in top shape to reopen for the new school year. She awarded the readiness of our public schools a grade of A", said the Chair of the Education Committee.
The Commissioner of Education's deceptive practice was earlier evident in regard to the state of readiness of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, said Senator Davis.
According to the Chairman of the Committee on Education, Culture & Youth, the Commissioner of Education, Dr. Noreen Michael, was well aware of the problems confronting the contractors at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School.
A letter dated August 15, 2005, detailed for the Commissioner of Education, the need to have the Public Finance Authority issue an addendum to a contractual agreement
so that additional structural drawings could be prepared with respect to the sealing of the exterior walls and repairs of the roof leaks of the classroom buildings at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. The letter to the Commissioner also made it clear that additional drawings were required to address the reinforcement of existing structurally deficient columns and to upgrade the roof framing system of the classroom buildings", the Chair of the Committee on Education indicated.
Senator Davis said the fact that a public exigency had been declared by the Governor and that the Department of Education has had all summer to conduct necessary repairs at Ivanna Eudora High School speaks to the Commissioner's inaction.
Further, with her recent capricious and arbitrary extension of the school day, without consultation with the teachers' unions, the dictatorial style of the Commissioner is well illustrated.
"It should really boggle the mind of the people of this community that hungry students at Central High School were denied lunch because the cafeteria did not have enough food to supply them with a meal. This is another indicator that the train of responsibility within Education has been derailed."
In addition, "the recent call for job action by V.I. public school coaches is a signal to all of us that a band-aid is no longer sufficient to stop the bleeding. Add to all this, the sickouts at our public schools and it would become evident that the situation can no longer be tolerated," said the Chair of the Committee on Education.
Moreover, it borders on criminal negligence that the deplorable conditions at Antonio Jarvis Elementary School have not been addressed by the current Commissioner.
"It is extremely disheartening that the educational system of the territory should be placed in the hands of an incompetent, non-chalant, incapable and do-nothing Commissioner, whose only task is seemingly to issue news releases in an attempt to
deceive the public about the true state of our schools. Our students, our teachers and the public deserve better. With Dr. Noreen Michael at the head of the Department of Education, things will not improve. In the short-term we can only expect more job action and sickouts – in the long-term under the current misleadership, we can expect the complete demise of our educational system," said Senator Liston A. Davis, Chair of the Committee on Education, Culture and Youth.

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