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HomeCommentaryOp-edOp-Ed: Public School Education Should Be a Priority!

Op-Ed: Public School Education Should Be a Priority!

Mary L. Moorhead

It is way past time to focus on the education needs of our children and the territory.

Public school education is an investment, not an expense, and public-school education must be a key issue in the platform of every candidate. Education is pivotal in the development and growth of the territory, and quality education is the most important foundation of economic growth.

The Board of Education must exercise the authority and oversight granted to administer the execution of the VIC items which were legislated to enhance the VI public education system. Virgin Islands Code Title 17, chapters 3 and 5, legislate power and authority to the Board of Education that it does not perform. The Board of Education has authority and jurisdiction to “provide for the proper administration of funds that were appropriated by U.S. Congress and apportioned to the Virgin Islands for any and all educational purposes.”

By all reports, the Department of Education has access to millions of federal fundings; the Board of Education is not involved in the administration of the funds and has no knowledge of the purpose of the funds.  The overarching legislated item of power in Title 17 is the Board’s authority and jurisdiction “to do anything necessary for the proper establishment, maintenance, management and operation of the public schools of the Virgin Islands.”

Remember Nelson Mandela’s quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

A quality public education makes a difference in the lives of people. The earlier children begin to learn, the better educated children will be; so, the public education of our children must begin as early as possible. The people must advocate for full implementation of Title 17, chapter 20, section 231 a. That law orders the Department of Education to establish a territory-wide pre-kindergarten program for four (4) year old children. As is a pattern with much of Title 17, the establishment of VI PreK program is not necessarily in accordance with law or the needs of the people.

Because elections have consequences which affect you if you vote or not, it is the time for every man and woman who love the Virgin Islands and its people to participate to protect, save and preserve the Virgin Islands.  Select leaders who are bold, courageous, humble, ambitious, with empathy and self-control. Select leaders who know how and want to be a public servant.

Register and vote November 8, 2022!

Mary L. Moorhead

Editor’s note: Mary Moorhead of St. Croix is a former member of the V.I. Board of Education.

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