Good Day my fellow Virgin Islanders, this is Allison “Allie” Petrus, your Democratic Candidate for Governor, speaking to you on the behalf of the Petrus/Sanes Team, This week I am talking to you about a topic that we have heard a great deal about recently in our local news – Education, or more importantly the state of Education for our territory’s greatest asset – Our Children.
Over three decades ago I had a life changing experience at the hands of a High School English teacher by the name of Ms. Mary Harley. I am proud to say I attended the Virgin Islands Public Schools, as did my running mate, Democratic Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Senator Sammuel Sanes. In my case, as a young black male out of the Public Housing Community of Oswald Harris Court, I am not ashamed to say, not much was expected of me.
One day while I was exiting my English Class, I was stopped by Ms. Harley, and she asked me what classes I was taking to prepare for college. I remember the encounter like it was yesterday. When I told her I wasn’t, Ms. Harley gave me that look and said “Allison, you need to take college prep classes.” Needless to say, before this encounter I never thought I was college material, nor would my mother making $6,000 a year as a school crossing guard be able to afford to send me to college.
But that teacher, that voice, and that sentence would forever change my life. For the first time, someone believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. That young doubting boy from public housing used those words from that special High School teacher, Ms. Mary Harley, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master Degree in Public Administration and a Master Degree in Business Administration.
I recently had the opportunity to thank Ms. Harley, for everything I have achieved in my life to date, including my candidacy to be your next Governor. Everything that I am today is a direct result, and credit, to the ceiling Ms. Harley removed from my life on that day in our High School English class. I sometimes get teary eyed when I reflect on that life changing moment by a life changing teacher.
That is the power and the tremendous effect that our Teachers can have in changing a child’s life and that is why we must be not only be respectful of them, but be grateful for them.
Teachers have the power to change lives, and therefore they deserve better treatment than they are currently receiving from this Administration. Today, a teacher entering our school system makes only $34k per year versus some state-side teachers that start with $45k per year.
This would be a top priority for change by the Petrus/Sanes Team. We are losing too many of our teachers to state-side school systems due to low wages and poor working conditions, and that is not their fault – It is the fault of our current Administration.
And just as we saw recently in the news, anytime someone questions the leadership of this current Administration’s failings when it comes to Education, the results are tirades, lashing-out, and in some cases personal attacks.
This will end with the Petrus/Sanes Administration, Sanes and I will respect your voice even if it comes with opposition.
When it comes to the Education and the future of our Children, this is the challenge that we are all in together.
A Petrus/Sanes Administration will place an emphasis on early childhood education (Pre-K through 6th Grade). In a speech in 2012, President Barack Obama reminded us all as a nation “Study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he, or she, does down the road”. For disadvantaged children, Education is the only equalizer!
Another area that requires our immediate attention is the mismanagement of Federal dollars by the Department of Education. For quite some time now, the US Department of Education has assigned a third-party consulting firm to manage the Federal Grants given to our Department of Education. This third-party management fee comes out of the total federal dollars given to the Virgin Islands Education Department.
The Petrus/Sanes Administration will work on a plan to demonstrate our ability to manage the Federal Grants, thereby creating a savings to our system that would allow our territory to have more monies that would go toward our Virgin Islands’ students, instead of to third party consultants.
Education as it is today is suffering from a lack of management and support, and the question you must ask: Do you trust the current administration to make the necessary changes to improve our children’s lives? Or do you trust the Petrus/Sanes administration to manage the needed changes as we get this once in a lifetime chance to rebuild our school systems after the storms?
Do you trust the current administration to manage an influx of hundreds of millions of dollars into our Education System? You and I know they’ve have already done such a poor job that it has led to the exodus of good teachers.
We have every reason to fear the mismanagement of trillions of federal dollars. The Petrus/Sanes team has the spending discipline, the management skills and most of all the construction aptitude to utilize the federal dollars in the most judicial way to benefit our students.
The Petrus/Sanes team needs your support in the Primary Election, as the first critical part of this election process.
This Friday, April 13th, Sanes and I invite you to come out and enjoy a Pre-Carnival Fish Fry at the Petrus Plaza. Music will be provided by DJ Deli Banger and The Spectrum Band.
There will also be a Voter Registration Drive so bring your citizenship documents.
If you wish to change your Registration from another party, or Independent, to a Democrat, please come with your current voter card.
Remember you Cannot Vote in the Primary for the Petrus/Sanes Team unless you are a Registered Democrat. Again, remember: you cannot Vote in the Primary for the Petrus/Sanes Team unless you are a Registered Democrat.
Until next week, Same place same time, All In All In with Petrus/Sanes