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An Open Letter Concerning Gov. Turnbull

From our local paper in St. Croix, USVI:
"Gov. Charles W. Turnbull is out of the territory attending education policy meetings. He left Wednesday to go to North Carolina to meet with the James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy board of directors, on which he has been appointed to serve." A release from the Virgin Island's Governor's Office said, "The institute has recognized Turnbull's commitment toward improving public education in America and its territories, and sought his guidance and good counsel to help bring about necessary changes to the education system."
To the Board of Directors and Staff, James B. Hunt Jr.
Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy
With all due respect. This man is an insult to anyone who considers himself or herself an "education governor" or supports the cause of quality public education. Consider this:
"His" school system ranks last in any measurement of performance.
Only 29% of "his" teachers meet the "highly qualified" standard set by USDOE.
The USVI Education Department spends $6000+ per student with little tangible return.
"His" school system has been ORDERED by the USDOE to hire a "fiduciary agent" to handle all Federal funds because of gross mismanagement in the past.
"His" Department of Education sent back to Washington about 65 times as many Federal dollars as the average U.S. jurisdiction.
The list of failures during "his" watch goes on and on.
On a daily basis Virgin Islanders see the damage this man has brought to our communities by his total lack of leadership in education. Those students that succeed (and there are many) do so in the face of a system that is an embarrassment. They attend classes in schools that are falling apart, without proper/adequate textbooks and are taught by teachers that struggle to teach under conditions that are abysmal.
For an organization such as yours to include this man on your Board and to seek his counsel on education is both mystifying and a disappointment, you discredit those that have fought hard to improve the quality of public education and have earned the right to be called "education governors." Yours truly,
Steve Kaufman
St. Croix
You might also like to read some of the following articles:
Unused Education Funds Top $2 Million Mark Again, Worst in U.S.
Woodson Shutdown Raising Ire and Questions About Education
Michael Defends Education Actions
Board of Education Wonders What's Happened to Task Force
Testifiers Lament Low Literacy of Community
Seminar Searches for Solutions to Education Woes

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 source@viaccess.net.

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