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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Radical Change Is Needed in Education

Dear Source:
Thank you Mr. Browne for your candid rebuttal. I am now convinced that your philosophy about education is based on past transgressions and local cultural norms rather than sound educational administration and student progress. To say that people who disagree with your philosophy are suffering from "myopism" is an insult. I suspect that you meant myopic meaning "nearsighted" or did you mean myopism in the sense that certain people are "elitist" about those that may be poor. If the latter is true, then your argument is just as simplistic as you accuse others of being. It's an easy way out to say that certain persons are "looking down their noses" or are insensitive when the real issues are all around you if you chose to just set-aside your own petty views.
The issue here is not Ms. Spampinato as it turns out, it's your opinion that we can do the same job without outside interference and that the educational system is just fine. The truth of the matter is you haven't recognized the fact that the system is failed and that the past leaders of our education system have not been able to fix it. This is not about a personality, it's about administration and effective leadership. Yes, Ms. Spampinato has moved from system to system and has recently left two systems under curious circumstances while gaining the compensation owed to her. There is no mention about what had actually transpired to make her leave those highly placed positions except that she didn't "fit in" or was too aggressive with subordinates. To say that she has a "ragged job performance record" means that you didn't look further than the fact that she left systems. The truth is, she has 31 years of educational experience and is know for her ability to turn-around failing systems. That's why the Summit, Colorado school system hired her as did the Pittsburgh system. She has credentials! Is she too aggressive? I like to think she is. One thing is abundantly clear about her track record: she performs! I am pleased that the governor saw fit to look at her credentials as an effective administrator rather than her philosophical differences with a school system. Will she anger people here in the Virgin Islands? Probably. Will heads roll when the goals she sets for the system are not met? Boy, I sure hope so. I suppose that the educational system of the Virgin Island can survive without Ms. Spampinato. Is survive a good word? How about excel? How about national model? The bottom line is: will students benefit from her tenure, I like to think so.
It is curious that you pointed out the article "Tough Choices or Tough Times. It's an interesting read. In fact the basis of the book is about changing the entire educational system of the United States in favor of a new model which includes: "contracted schools", "state-run education" rather than local education. It's an aggressive approach to creative learning and administration which should be considered. It is also an amazing cost-saving approach. I am glad you brought it up Mr. Browne, it enforces my belief that radical change is desperately needed in all education systems everywhere regardless of the few who would fight against change at all costs.

Paul Devine
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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Dear Source:
Thank you Mr. Browne for your candid rebuttal. I am now convinced that your philosophy about education is based on past transgressions and local cultural norms rather than sound educational administration and student progress. To say that people who disagree with your philosophy are suffering from "myopism" is an insult. I suspect that you meant myopic meaning "nearsighted" or did you mean myopism in the sense that certain people are "elitist" about those that may be poor. If the latter is true, then your argument is just as simplistic as you accuse others of being. It's an easy way out to say that certain persons are "looking down their noses" or are insensitive when the real issues are all around you if you chose to just set-aside your own petty views.
The issue here is not Ms. Spampinato as it turns out, it's your opinion that we can do the same job without outside interference and that the educational system is just fine. The truth of the matter is you haven't recognized the fact that the system is failed and that the past leaders of our education system have not been able to fix it. This is not about a personality, it's about administration and effective leadership. Yes, Ms. Spampinato has moved from system to system and has recently left two systems under curious circumstances while gaining the compensation owed to her. There is no mention about what had actually transpired to make her leave those highly placed positions except that she didn't "fit in" or was too aggressive with subordinates. To say that she has a "ragged job performance record" means that you didn't look further than the fact that she left systems. The truth is, she has 31 years of educational experience and is know for her ability to turn-around failing systems. That's why the Summit, Colorado school system hired her as did the Pittsburgh system. She has credentials! Is she too aggressive? I like to think she is. One thing is abundantly clear about her track record: she performs! I am pleased that the governor saw fit to look at her credentials as an effective administrator rather than her philosophical differences with a school system. Will she anger people here in the Virgin Islands? Probably. Will heads roll when the goals she sets for the system are not met? Boy, I sure hope so. I suppose that the educational system of the Virgin Island can survive without Ms. Spampinato. Is survive a good word? How about excel? How about national model? The bottom line is: will students benefit from her tenure, I like to think so.
It is curious that you pointed out the article "Tough Choices or Tough Times. It's an interesting read. In fact the basis of the book is about changing the entire educational system of the United States in favor of a new model which includes: "contracted schools", "state-run education" rather than local education. It's an aggressive approach to creative learning and administration which should be considered. It is also an amazing cost-saving approach. I am glad you brought it up Mr. Browne, it enforces my belief that radical change is desperately needed in all education systems everywhere regardless of the few who would fight against change at all costs.

Paul Devine
St. John

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.