As a graduate of the V.I. Public School system, it saddens me to read such gloomy news about the state of education in the Virgin Islands. However, the key to solving this issue is to stop pointing fingers, and for the entire community to take a stand and demand better, demand more for our children. The Federation of Teachers needs to stop protecting bad/burnt out/need-to- retire teachers and allow principals and the administration to deal effectively with staff that hinder the educational progression of our youth. The government needs to pay good teachers (and there are many of them) what they are worth, provide continued training and staff development, and provide teachers and support staff with the resources and tools necessary to give our children equal footing for learning in the 21st century. Politicians need to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk and doing something about this issue now and not only during election time. Parents need to get more involved with their children, and stop relying solely on the Department of Education to raise and teach their children the values and importance of a good education. Corporations, businesses, churches and the community at-large must make an investment in education, for it is an investment in the future of the Virgin Islands. Law enforcement and the DOE need to work together to ensure that children have safe, violent free schools, safe havens where they can learn without worrying about violence, gangs, being raped, bullied, etc.
We need to start school by school, school administrator by school administrator, teacher by teacher, support staff by support staff, parent by parent, child by child. Every single child deserves the right to a free and quality education. The entire community has to come together and support people like Dr. Michael who are trying to make things better, but who is hindered by "politricks" and foolishness, ancient processes and hidden and not so hidden agendas. Until the people of the V.I. stand up say no more, this insidious problem will continue to exist. We are a strong people, a surviving people, people of character and people of worth, people of God, and we cannot let such a legacy die with our most precious resources, our children. I am a Virgin Islands child, I am a jewel (if I remember those words of Mr. Sewer correctly). Our children are jewels, yet we treat them like coal. Come on Virgin Islands, we have to do better. We can do better. Together!
Nicole Roebuck Warner
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 [email protected].