Education Policy Improvement Act in the U.S. Virgin Islands

The Senate overrode Governor John deJongh Jr.’s veto of the Education Policy Improvement Act, which he had struck down last week saying that the implementation of the proposed legislation would be problematic. The governor stressed that the bill burdens the Education Department with creating a new testing program when it already conducts the V.I. Territorial Assessment of Learning standardized tests. He also said that raising the age limit for a student to drop out of school would be appropriate only if alternative education programs are in place to help more students.

The Education Policy Improvement Act will raise the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18; require a Virgin Islands cultural curriculum to be taught in all grades in public schools; require proficiency examinations in the 4th, 6th, 8th and 12th grades; and require that students pass the proficiency exam or “satisfactorily complete” summer school.

Bill sponsor Senator Wayne James made the motion for the override at Senate session on April 15.

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