Prioritizing Education

Support education from head start to elementary school, and career and technical training and beyond. Ensure that every child has access to rigorous content and resources to meet competency and proficiency in literacy, numeracy and the sciences. Support teacher professional development, state-of-the art safe and secure schools. Promote workforce training in all public schools. Focus on bringing all available technologies for student learning into the classroom.

Challenges

  • Teachers are grossly underpaid: Starting teachers on average earn almost one-third less than their stateside counterparts, leading to many leaving the system for better-paying jobs. The government has consistently shortchanged our teachers by not providing opportunities to increase pay and salaries.
  • Schools are physically falling apart: Failing school infrastructure results in poor and unsafe working physical conditions for students, staff, and teachers. There is no consistent and sustained maintenance plan.
  • Students’ proficiency levels are below grade level: Our students are lacking in basic reading, language arts, and math competencies.
  • A fragmented curriculum: Mixed standards, benchmarks, teacher quality, test design, and accountability and performance measurements are out of alignment across the system and continue to hamper teaching and learning. A clear example is that our students do not adequately meet national standards.
  • Inferior technology: Technology resources are inadequate and not available in every school or classroom. There is also a lack of sufficient computer science teachers to fulfill STEM standards and to allow students to become technologically advanced and competent on tests requiring computers.

Solutions

Our administration will institute best-practices management of federal funds, maximizing the benefits to students, teachers, and the system’s technology and infrastructure. We will:

  • Adequately compensate and train our teachers: Redirect resources that have been used on political excess to increase teacher pay and attract new teachers, as well as increase teacher starting salaries. Provide the requisite funds for better teacher salaries, resources, equipment and technology.
  • Emphasize early childhood education: Reform teaching and learning from the ground up. Implement a rigorous early Childhood Framework designed to provide teaching and learning opportunities utilizing evidenced-based best practices. Require that all students meet grade level competencies in reading and math by third grade. Provide remediation programs to help students at risk for academic failure.
  • Execute Obligations: Honor and adhere to contractual obligations of current teachers.
  • Incentivize: Provide incentives and concessions for teachers that assist with decreasing the cost of housing, and other cost of living expenses through partnerships with preferred vendors and other community organizations.
  • Economic and Workforce Development: Provide for career and technical education (CTE) initiatives in schools so that students learn from early childhood skills and knowledge to nurture their participation in workforce development.
  • State of the Art Technology Access: Improve technology infrastructure and provide fully technologically connected classrooms for teaching and learning.
  • Improve Federal Funds Management: Improve federal funds management, monitoring, reporting, and compliance.
  • Build effective organizational systems: Implement systems and processes which engender greater accountability for federal funds management
  • Improve Training and Development: Improve training and professional development opportunities for teachers, particularly in early childhood education.
  • Support equity and access for all: Ensure that we hire teachers who are trained to educate students on all learning levels.
  • Emphasize vocational skills training: Passionately develop initiatives for disenfranchised young men and women who have no GED, cannot afford college, and are unemployed or underemployed.
  • Capitalize on UVI expertise: Invite all UVI departments to sit at the table as we re-think and reform our K-12 education policies and practices.
  • Bolster UVI capacity to provide non-traditional higher education: Promote and develop the capacity of UVI to provide scholarships for degrees and non-traditional certificates for vocational Educational Development programs.
  • Leverage partnerships to help teachers: Provide a fund to implement scholarships for teachers at UVI to incentivize teachers to stay and teach in the VI.
  • Physical Plant: Develop a capital improvement fund and plan designed to replace all modular units rapidly. Improve school inspection and maintenance through the development of a school-wide targeted maintenance framework. Utilize the latest renewable technologies and energy solutions for rebuilding and refurbishing schools.
  • Develop Strategic Partnerships: Partner with UVI to implement curriculum coursework and training designed to assist administrators, fiscal, and program personnel, as well as all new government employees who manage federal funds and who have federal fiduciary responsibility.

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