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FYI: Sen. Liston A. Davis


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Senator Liston A. Davis, Chairman of the Committee on Education, Culture and Youth, Tuesday (3-29-05) toured the Vocational Education facilities at the Charlotte Amalie High School finding a reduction in enrollment and a section in desperate need of supplies and structural maintenance. Senator Davis expressed concerns that leadership and direction were missing for vocational education in the territory's public schools.
After meeting Assistant Principal Eric Blake Jr., Senator Davis visited classrooms that provided training in automobile body repair, automobile mechanics, cosmetology, electricity, electronics, plumbing and home economics. Davis found the lack of classroom space, poor bathroom facilities, leaking roofs and the lack of running water at the vocational educational shops.
Responding to Senator Davis' questions relating to the impact of block scheduling on the vocational education program at CAHS, all the instructors indicated that it had a negative impact on the vocational education track. Instructors said the block scheduling focus more on the required and academic courses resulting in decreasing enrollment in Voc. Ed. Classes, and the school counselors should be more aggressive in recruiting students to the classes. Instructors also complained that they do not get the basic equipment and supplies necessary when requested, forcing them to purchase the items out of their own pockets.
CAHS Principal Jeanette Smith-Barry told Davis that she rarely gets requests from Voc. Ed. Instructors for teaching material and supplies, saying that whenever she gets them she honors them immediately. Principal Smith said problem with funding comes from the State level where monies from the State Vocational Education office take a long time to reach the school. Senator Davis said he supports Vocational Education providing grants for each school to be responsible for administering.
Senator Davis concluded that the Vocational Education program needs an "influx of energy" and to be rebuilt through a strong student educational campaign and recruiting program, and invited instructors and students to attend a committee hearing to discuss the status of vocational education scheduled for Monday April 4th beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Earle B. Ottley Legislative Hall on St. Thomas.


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