Governor Dejongh And NYC Mayor Bloomberg Establish Dialogue On Education Reform

USVI Governor and NYC Mayor Discuss Best Practices for Enhancing Educational Programs for Territory’s Youth

NEW YORK CITY, February 13, 2008 – On Tuesday, February 12, for first time since being elected Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, John P. de Jongh, Jr. met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss opportunities to further enhance education development in the Territory. The two officials convened at New York City Hall and were joined by New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Education, Dennis Walcott.

Governor de Jongh and Mayor Bloomberg discussed the strong connection between New York City and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including the vital role that New Yorkers play in the Territory’s visitor arrivals each year. New York was the number one origin of visitors to the Islands in 2007, according to the Bureau of Education and Research. Further, more than 375,000 New York residents have visited USVI over the past five years and over 9,100 New York City residents were born in the U.S. Virgin Islands (2000 Census).

Tuesday’s meeting was arranged by Governor de Jongh’s office to specifically address the issue of education reform – a topic the Governor has emphasized throughout his administration. During the course of the meeting, the Governor expressed his support for Mayor Bloomberg’s successful education programs that have been implemented throughout the New York City Schools system and also sought advice on planned initiatives for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In addition, the Governor announced the establishment of an educational award program for New York City teachers, which would recognize a dozen outstanding New York City Social Studies and History teachers with an educational excursion to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Gov. De Jongh’s education plan covers many areas including an emphasis on student performance and teacher professional development, and an emphasis on early childhood education and “school readiness” for all children in USVI.

* Editor’s Note: A high resolution photo of Governor John deJongh, Jr. and Mayor Bloomberg is available upon request.