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Alexandra PTA to meet minister today

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Alexandra PTA to meet minister today

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Minister of Education Ronald Jones will meet with the executive of the Alexandra School Parent-Teacher Association at the ministry at 4:30 p.m. today.
This was confirmed last night by the PTA’s president Carl Benskin.
Benskin said Jones specifically requested that only the association’s executive be invited to the meeting, therefore the National Council Of Parent Teachers’ Association (NCPTA) president Rhonda Blackman would not be there.
Blackman had been invited by Benskin and his PTA to assist in talks with the ministry after it was learnt that yesterday’s all-parties’ meeting was not attended by the Alexandra school teachers’ representative the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union.
Blackman, along with the NCPTA’s first vice-president Shone Gibbs, yesterday accompanied Benskin and some of his executive members to the ministry yesterday where they presented a letter to Chief Education Officer Laurie King outlining its demand for the ministry to immediately assign temporary teachers to the school.  
Afterwards Blackman told reporters that the NCPTA had pledged its support for the Alexandra PTA.
“Since we are the umbrella body of PTAs and represent all schools, our mission is to assist in the promotion of best practices in the teaching and learning process. We are the watchdog and we don’t want to see those children’s education compromised anymore,” she said.
Blackman had stated that the NCPTA would like counselling provided for the children as there would be some psychological impact on them as a result of the impasse “because of the toxic environment they are in”.
When contacted last night on today’s meeting, Blackman expressed disappointment.
She said that at the meeting with Alexandra principal Jeff Broomes, the association representing principals was present to give him support, and so the school’s PTA should be accorded the same right.
Benskin said the Alexandra PTA planned to press for its key demand for temporary teachers. He said its planned protest action scheduled for tomorrow morning would hinge largely on the outcome of this evening’s meeting.
“The majority of the parents are concerned their children are coming home having not done anything, so they are hopping mad,” said Benskin, describing the general mood of concerned parents. (SP)