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EDUCATORS, SENATORS COLLABORATING ON PLAN

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Sept. 23, 2003 – The Senate Education and Youth Committee met on Monday with top local education officials in an effort to map a course for educational reform. According to a release from the committee, "the goal of the meeting was to gain consensus on a comprehensive approach to education reform and to begin the process of developing an action plan" to bring it about.
There was general agreement that reform is needed and that the first step should be to address "basic structural changes in the governance and management of the education system," the release stated. It also was agreed that reform must address the concerns of educators, parents, students and political leaders — and that "consensus among political leaders is necessary for this major initiative to move forward."
The meeting included a review of previous study findings and former legislative initiatives, along with "input from all levels of education officials which has provided a foundation for education reform."
Education officials attending the meeting were UVI President LaVerne E. Ragster; Education Deputy Commissioner Lauren Larsen; Harry Daniel, Board of Education chair, and fellow board members Keith Richards and Liston Davis; and Wilbert Gomez, Vocational Board of Education chair, and board member Lena Schulterbrandt.
It was decided that "the professionals in education, led by UVI," would develop draft legislation, drawing on existing documentation, including:
– The proposed Public Education Reform Act sponsored by Sens. David Jones, Norman Jn Baptiste and Liburd in the 24th Legislature.
– "The Administrative Efficiency of the V.I. Department of Education," a study analysis produced by UVI at the behest of the Legislature.
– A commission report drafted by the Education Department.
– The guidelines of the Compliance Agreement between the local Education Department and the U.S. Department of Education.
Committee members present were the chair, Sen. Ronald Russell, and Sens. Louis Hill, Luther Renee and Usie Richards. Sens. Roosevelt David and Shawn-Michael Malone were excused.

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