Senators Told Fall Semester Will See Education Changes

Sen. Allison DeGazon questions members of the V.I. Board of Education during Tuesday's hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)
Sen. Allison DeGazon questions members of the V.I. Board of Education during Tuesday’s hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

After the V.I. Board of Education returned from the National School Board Association, members of the Senate Committee on Education and Workforce Development on Tuesday demanded answers about educational policies and curriculum changes.

“With our government … we do a good job of talking about situations or even putting things in place, but we don’t maintain. We go to conferences and we hear a lot of the feedback and the take-away and we speak of change, but then things remain the same year after year,” Sen. Allison DeGazon said.

Several members of the Board of Education attended the national conference where more than 300 sessions, workshops and hands-on exhibits took place informing attendees of various educational programs and curriculum developments. Of the things discussed, “curriculum is the most powerful change a district can make,” Board of Education Secretary Winona A. Hendricks said.

DeGazon asked the board for a timeline of the proposed changes to school curriculum and said as a government, “We have a propensity to sit on things.”

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“With the curriculum I want to see a lot more change. I want to see more interaction,” DeGazon said after telling Hendricks that timelines and benchmarks need to be put in place, “so that we can show the people that we are in fact working.”

When Hendricks was unable to provide an answer, DeGazon asked the board if it would take a year or two years for them to implement changes to the curriculum. Hendricks replied, “Let’s give it a year. Let’s do the research. Let’s not be hasty about something so important to our students.”

Board of Education Chairman Arah Lockhart, said she “wholeheartedly agreed” with DeGazon. The board was not to be blamed for the slow progress, Lockhart said, but instead the Department of Education.

Members of the Board of Education answer senators' questions during Tuesday's hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)
Members of the Board of Education answer senators’ questions during Tuesday’s hearing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)

“We have already sent out the proposed policy changes asking for feedback by the end of May. And Commissioner Racquel Benjamin Barry indicated to us that with everything that is going on it is really unrealistic that the department would be able to provide their responses and feedback to us.”

Lockhart said the board extended the departments deadline to June 5, and understands the need to establish a timeline, “but it hasn’t been ratified or adopted.” By next school year Lockhart said new policy and curriculum changes will be in place.

Sen. Stedmann Hodge Jr., was also present for the NSBA conference. In his opening statements he said it is “school boards, hand in hand with the department of education, that play a vital role for improving student achievement in any district through the U.S. or its territories. In fact they play a role that no one else can fulfill.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Blah Blah Blah Blah. Which promotional policies should schools follow, geniuses? Superintendent Well policy ,which has been implemented in schools for the past four years or BOE? The Board was aware of Well’s illegal act and did nothing to stop her knowing she was out of her jurisdiction since the Board is the only entity that create school policies. Which policiy are we following this year Wells or the Board of Education? Simple answer. No rocket science here!!! Put it in writing and send it out to the schools. Do your job and stop talking about implementing ideas! Change the curriculum again? We keep changing the curriculum every four years. We buy stuff on fire sales and expect teachers to implement them. Finish one thing before jumping from one thing to the next.

  2. When will the Board of Education implement Act 7167 which requires School Exit Exams prior to graduation from High Schools in the USVI?

    Perhaps St.Thomas Source might investigate that, since everybody has forgotten about that.

  3. Exit Exam? Are you kidding? Try asking an eleventh grade 12×7 or who is the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the VI or name tree adverbs or what is an article . Let me know if you can find one student that can answer all. I don’t know any.?

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