The St. Croix Foundation extends a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the 200 plus concerned citizens and community stakeholders who attended our May 27th movie presentation of the groundbreaking documentary film, Waiting For Superman. Hosted in partnership with the USVI Parent Teacher Student Association and the Boys and Girls Club of the Virgin Islands,the movie was followed by a lively and impassioned panel discussion about the state of our local public schools and the students they serve.
Released in the fall of 2010, Waiting for Superman has elevated the national discourse about the critical issue of America’s declining educational ranking in the world and the systemic failures, which are contributing to poor student performance. With the mission of trying to ignite personal involvement, and to inspire real social change, movie director and producer, Davis Guggenheim, has encouraged communities like ours to host public screenings of the movie to stimulate the conversation about public education reform.
With Education Reform as the Foundation’s major organizational focus, Waiting for Superman provided a perfect backdrop for a meaningful conversation about the state of our public education system.
Our short-term programmatic goal entails channeling some of the spirited debate generated during the panel discussion toward real solutions. Remaining acutely focused on solutions, the Foundation has begun to compile a list (below) of specific strategies that are proving successful in other school districts (and countries around the world). Our initial list of reform strategies includes the following:
- Publicly grading schools utilizing established performance measurements
- Instituting mandatory exit exams for our high school graduates (and possibly other grade levels)
- Expanding the school year and/or school day
- Offering merit pay to high performing teachers and school-based administrators
- Offering vouchers and/or other flexible choices to parents in failing school “zones”
- Passing legislation for Charter and/or Magnet Schools
- Instituting innovative recruitment strategies to build a greater density of high quality teachers and school administrators
In months ahead, the Foundation plans to host targeted informational forums and roundtables, utilizing hard data, and inviting experts to present the pros and Icons of specific reform strategies. Our ultimate goal is to build real consensus and, from that, to facilitate the implementation of policy-based reforms! We invite you to provide feedback and additional recommendations on this list and look forward to your ongoing participation in this process. Please post your questions, comments and/or dicussions about education reform, charter school initiatives and/or education in the Virgin Islands here (or email privately if you prefer to firstname.lastname@example.org).