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Sunday, June 23, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesA Public Letter to Dr. Lynn Spampinato

A Public Letter to Dr. Lynn Spampinato

Dear Source:
Today, I had the honor to be in the audience of my Rotary Club where our guest speaker was the newly designated or nominated commissioner of education. This is the second such hearing as she was previously a guest to one of our other Rotary Clubs.
The Commissioner served in St. Louis my home town and I am tempted to inquire of persons there her track record. You see, she came with small tributes such as prince's approaching court of the king and significantly redirected our thoughts to test scores, SAT scores, unspent moneys from federal grants and programs and other mechanicals without a plan to repair or change the system sufficient to handle the known inequities. She continued by ignoring our youth violence in the school problem and any suggestions of how the potentially criminal behavior can decrease.
What is it commissioners of education in our Virgin Islands and most other jurisdictions have to prioritize more than any other urgent public concern? Behavior, behavior and more behavior control, behavior of student populations and behavior of staff.
The old statement that one can take a donkey to water but cannot make him/her drink is apparently a reality in education systems of today. Teachers have been made to examine their importance and design their own solutions of inept and quality of students and to lay any blame at the feet of society and the parents. Then, the professionals use subject centric education, certifications of school systems and teacher preparedness as excuses instead of attacking management head-on as the problem.
We have managers who are former educators managing unimaginable budgets and resources without any success experiences in management of those type resources and they are not required to even explain the ramifications of mismanaging those resources. Teachers who cannot seem to manage their classrooms are now asked to manage an entire school without management training specific: budget, economics and diplomacy.
I had talked on the Topp Show radio this very morning and implied that school security and violence were not properly prioritized and that no commissioner had ever designated someone in authority as director of school security plans and operations or school building and supplies maintenance plans.
At the meeting of my Rotary I posed the same questions which were met with a sense of discard and no answers. I was refused another question as our invited guest speaker allegedly had to go. How unfortunate to have access denied from a person who should be seeking information and friends from any source?
Our commissioner designee moved quickly for the exit and I followed closely to inform her that a day or so before the Charlotte Amalie High School incident I had left a message for her to call me for a free approach suggestion for crime prevention in Cancryn Junior High School. I said no one from her office responded and she seem to take offense.
She turned to move away and then turned towards me again stating that she heard me on the radio and she thinks that I was wrong and misrepresentative as she received no such call from me and her staff did not advise that any such message was left. I cautioned her that staffs in our Virgin Islands are over protective of their bosses without knowing the parameter's set by that boss. And, I continued that she must not allow her staff to build a false image of her non-availability to free offers of suggestions. She appeared upset.
We in our beloved Virgin Islands have hired many persons from yonder with nothing more than a resume touting their academic achievements and with little or no successes in the job vacancy we are looking to fill. We end up being guinea pigs for the speculative solutions untried by novice in their field and without one success of their endowed ideas documented. Then, they move on to greener pastures using our attempt as their resource.
Ms. Commissioner designate, where's the beef? Until you have assigned someone in the area of both supplies and maintenance and crime prevention and security you will never be able to force our students to drink from your cup.
Our students never are expelled for lack of academic achievement or even superior academic achievement; our children are expelled for misbehavior and potential disrespect for one another, their teachers and the school system. Fix those and when you leave our beloved Virgin Islands you will have some successes to tout in conjunction with your academic achievements. In retrospect, surely you can recall your A's came from teachers who inspired you to learn allowing the teaching to take affect by the inspiration. Teach our children how to learn – teach them how to be inspired – teach them how to be adults.
There are a lot of people in our Virgin Islands who want you to succeed and we will never help you fail to deliver education to our children. You succeed and so do our children. We just want you to teach and inspire them to learn and allow them to drink on their own the water of education you now are unable to force. And, I along with many committed others stand ready to help. Welcome to the Virgin Islands.

Krim M. Ballentine
St. Thomas

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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