Hearing the rants and cries while growing up, I never understood why my mother was always so outspoken and always questioned the quality of my education. Well now I understand. I attended St. Patrick’s Catholic School as a youngster (thank God for their early start of discipline) and then I branched out to the Public School System in 5th grade till 12th grade (a mistake that I never knew that would’ve haunted me in my late teens and early 20s while in college). Moreover, I felt so proud about wearing the Maroon and white uniform since I knew it was my mother’s prestigious alma mater, St. Croix Central High School.
My mother was quite involved during my four years of high school. Oh boy, I sure disliked that. Of course, I never told her that. I couldn’t phantom why mother attended all of my school’s PTA meetings and always made sure her voice was heard. I couldn’t understand why she always kept mentioning about how unruly the school’s block schedule was. (Block scheduling is a type of academic scheduling in which each student has fewer classes per day. Each class is scheduled for a longer period of time than normal (e.g. 90 minutes). For instance, a single class will meet every day for a number of weeks, after which another class will take its place. Block schedule offers more concentrated experiences of subjects, with fewer classes daily. There may be a less regularity of homework for any given class). My mother always told my high school officials (principals, asst. principals, Department of Education, teachers, etc.) that the block schedule is a disadvantage for the students and they just never listened to her.
Well, I am a living testimony on how the school’s block schedule and some teachers’ unethical teaching style failed me. My mother has always pushed hard for me to get into certain teachers’ classes who were great at their job (thank God for my mother being a teacher and her connections). However, some students were not as lucky as I was. The schools block schedule is quite unconventional. Most of the subjects suffer from a lack of daily exposure to subject matter and practice with a block schedule.
Subjects such as Mathematics, Science, History, etc. needs to be taught for longer periods of time. Our children are not being equipped with the tools to function in the real world such as college, technical school, etc. Block scheduling is a horrible system, it can result in gaps of a day, weeks, or months where students are receiving no reinforcement of instruction in a specific subject and this results in retention problems and the need for more remedial review. Again, I am a living testimony on this topic. I’ve always been an A and B high school student, however as I ventured to college, I had to take all remedial Math classes. I never understood in high school, why some students were able to take Advance Placement courses in high school such as Calculus, Trigonometry, etc. and others were not given the chance to do so.
As I ventured into college, courses such as Chemistry, basic Algebra, Geometry, Biology, and Human Anatomy & Physiology has been an extreme challenge for me. Yes, I’ve had Chemistry, Biology, and Algebra in high school but was I taught the basics and fundamentals of these subjects? No. I am currently a college graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. After I graduated, I decided to go back to school for a post baccalaureate in Nursing. I am currently a Georgia State University student, it has been quite a challenge due to some of my past teacher’s lazy teaching style and the schools’ block schedule. Most of these students that are in my college courses have been taught in their high schools the fundamentals and are equipped for college.
I am extremely upset and disgusted with the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education. It is a disgrace that our students are not being equipped with the basics and fundamentals and not able to function in the real world. Hence, the reason why most Virgin Islanders return to their homeland because they are not able to function in colleges due to their lack of skills which it all boils down to our Virgin Islands educational system. I am the voice for others that are not able to verbally communicate their feelings. I challenge the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education to do better with their lack of educational principles for our children. Our children are the future. How will our children lead in the future when they are not being taught in the present to lead?
Respectfully yours, Jolene Edwards
To the V.I. Department of Education That Failed Me and Others
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