Forum

NORTH MIAMI.- Tabernacle of Glory in conjunction with the Haitian American Leadership Organization (HALO) and the Association of Haitian Educators of Dade (AHED) held on Wed, Oct 26, the Miami-Dade County  Public School Board District 1 Community Forum. The forum opposed Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway to Dr Steve Gallon III, two candidates running for the open Miami-Dade County Public School Board seat, District 1.

An energetized Dr. Gallon faced a confident Holloway during this passionate debate moderated by Miami Herald’s renowned journalist Jacqueline Charles.

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Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway (left) and Dr Steve Gallon III (right)

At Tabernacle of Glory this Wednesday, a lot of questions were asked by concerned parents during the debate through the moderator who read the questions to the candidates. A lot of educational issues were submitted to the panel such as school security, teacher retention and hiring, transportation for kids with special needs, open enrollment rule, bond, parking, graduation rates, education quality, low performing schools, transgender bathroom bill etc.

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Pastor Gregory Toussaint introducing the forum

About low-performing schools, Dr. Gallon answered that if elected he will make sure that public schools in district 1 will have “experienced and highly qualified teacher.” On his side, Dr. Holloway indicated that the Board works with parents and the community to help students succeed. “Children are successful; this is not an F community”, he assured. One of the questions raised during the debate was from a parent concerned about a hypothetical transgender bathroom bill (which was withdrawn in Florida last February). Dr. Holloway said that as a parent and a Christian, he was against it; Dr. Gallon answered that as a lawmaker he would have to abide by the law if it had passed, but as a parent and a Christian he was against it as well.

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Moderator Jacqueline Charles from the Miami Herald

To sum it up, Dr. Holloway defended during the debate the achievements of the current Board he is a part of such as improved graduation rates, new school buildings, an increase in School Board contracts awarded to minority-owned companies and reforms in the district’s suspension policy. Dr Gallon on his side promised to advocate for a better distribution of school resources and higher teacher pay. The former principal of Northwestern Senior High and a Miami-Dade district administrator has also pledged to improve the academic performance of students in District 1.

Many officials of the Haitian community participated at the forum that took place at Tabernacle of Glory (990 NE 125th St, North Miami, FL 33161). Among these, North Miami police chief Gary Eugene, North Miami vice-mayor Alix Désulmé, North Miami ex-mayor Andre Pierre, vice-consul Guy Francois Jr, North Miami city clerk, Michael Etienne etc.

This is not the first time Tabernacle of Glory gets involved in the life of the community. In December 2013, during the Haitian deportation crisis in Dominican Republic, Tabernacle of Glory hosted a debate to denounce the inhumane decision made by the Dominican authorities to send to Haiti thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent. This time, it was about education, “an important topic”, indicated our Pastor Gregory Toussaint who introduced the debate. Last Wednesday, Tabernacle of Glory’s parents came with a lot of questions for the two candidates running for Miami-Dade County Public School Board seat in District 1. Pastor Greg always preaches that getting an education is a spiritual act. “As a parent, you must know that when you send your child to school, you allow a professor to pour out something in his or her soul.  So you must know what kind of education your child is getting”, Pastor Gregory Toussaint teaches.

Finally, Tabernacle of Glory did a great job hosting the forum. Everything was on point whether it was the welcoming, the protocol, the security or the reception. A whole team put together to make the forum a success for God’s Glory.

*This article originally featured in Le Floridien