BPSU: Concerns Warranted, Statement Offensive

August 31, 2013

The Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] said they are aware of the “negative blogs” about new Education Commissioner Dr. Edmond Heatley, and said the “concerns of the Bermuda public are warranted.”

The Union also said comments made by Education Permanent Secretary Warren Jones were “extremely insensitive, inappropriate and offensive.”

Earlier this week Dr. Heatley, an educator who has been the subject of some controversy in his native United States, was named the new Commissioner of Education after being selected from some 70 applicants.

A statement from the Union said: “The Ministry of Education/Bermuda Public Education System has had challenges for many years with its attempts to raise academic standards for Bermuda’s schools.

“There have been improvements but more needs to be done. Equally the major debate continues on finding suitably qualified Bermudians to lead the reform of Bermuda’s education system.

“Senior officers employed by the Ministry of Education must be identified and offered overseas assignments to countries with proven records in academic excellence like Finland, Norway and the like as part of an implemented succession plan.

“We cannot go beyond the three year contract offered to Dr. Heatley without identifying a group of Bermudians that have all of the criteria to do the job to the satisfaction of the Public Service Commission.

“However, in light of the public outcry it may be foolhardy for the Minister to ignore the demand for a Bermudian to be the next Commissioner of Education,” said the Union.

In a follow up statement, the BPSU also said comments made by Education Permanent Secretary Warren Jones were “extremely insensitive, inappropriate and offensive.”

The BPSU said, “He expressed his personal views and displeasure concerning those unsuccessful civil servants who anonymously and allegedly denounced the appointment of Dr. Edmund Heatley because they believe that there are suitable qualified Bermudians. Mr. Jones’ words: “They need to get over it” appears to be a veiled threat against them.

“The Ministry of Education, civil servants and principals have a right to apply for the Commissioner of Education post and as such there must be a succession plan in place that facilitates training these officers so that in three years’ time there is a cadre of prepared Bermudians that are eligible to assume the duties of the Commissioner of Education.

“It is the Public Service Commission that will ultimately decide the future Commissioner of Education based on the recommendations from the Education Board. It is the expectation that the potential candidates will be adequately trained to assume the position.

“Let’s truly work for Bermuda’s school children by elevating the education standards and that should be done with the principals, teachers and ministry of education staff as a team,” said the BPSU.

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  1. media says:

    Funny, I don’t remember hearing a peep out of anyone when the former Education Commissioner was announced under the PLP just a few years ago…seems rather hypocritical to me.

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      The former “Education Commissioner” is a Bermudian.

      • New Bermudian says:

        Yes, Mrs. McDonnell was, but I am sure Henry whatsisname (can’t recall the surname). He was paid a wildly extravagant salary, did almost nothing, worked a four day week, lived in the lap of luxury- all paid for by us.

      • Bazumbo says:

        The Problem with the Bermuda public school system is that we are made to believe that because a person is qualified for a job, that is good enough and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.. And Laverne, with all due respect, the unions have helped create this problem. I know several qualified and certified mechanics but are they equally good at what they do. no! I know several lawyers, would I trust every one of them to represent me.? no. I have been to several qualified doctors of the years,would I say they were equally as good , just beacuse they passed the same exam. Heck no! However, with teachers…and the future of our children ,we seem content on settling on “qualified” teachers instead of great teachers. If a teacher here does not produce or care and parents complain, then all that happens is that they get transferred and become another schools problem. As long as being Bermudian is good enough then we shouldn’t expect much. We need to make sure our teachers are great teachers that can get thru to the students. Hopefully they will all be Bermudian, if you can’t produce or make an impact then , tough, step aside and make way for someone who can.

    • Times are tough says:

      You didn’t hear it because the former Commissioner is a Bermudian.

    • Mazumbo says:

      Proud to be Bermudian, woe, woe ,woooeee ? LMAO

  2. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    The difference is,Heatley arrived on our shores with tons of baggage. Mr.Grant(BPSU) is correct as is Mr.Furbert(BIU)in their assessment of the big picture.
    The self serving,insulting,unprofessional outburst from Warren Jones did further damage to an already bad situation.

    Government should cut their losses,terminate the contract, send Heatley back home and Jones should be severly reprimanded.

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    What is the priority? The improved education of the students after generations of failure or is it a guaranteed job for a Bermudian?

    Sorry, but if the Bermudian candidates who applied for the job are already senior people in the MOE, then they are more than likely part of the problem. How are they going to bring new ideas & experience to the table? It will be more of the same old same old. Don’t rock the boat. When you step off you want to be sure you have that generous pension. That is all that matters.

    The MOE has been treated as a cosy little club for decades. Friends & family only need apply.

    Heatley has a major battle on his hands. The MOE people will put out stumbling blocks for him every step of the way. Who cares about the good of the students.

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      You know the priority. Guaranteed job for a Bermudian. They don’t give a rat’s behind about whether children get educated properly.

      And what’s getting offended all the time? They should get over it. All of us have to deal with not getting a job at dome time or another. What makes them so special?

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      With the cutting down of the school budget cutting down of school year, outsourcing of critical operations, do you really think the improvements to education is their “bottom line”? Also if you took the time you would see Dr. Heatley isn’t the clear cut right person for the job with his past taken into account. In these times we need someone who is ready to work with all parties to ensure the best interests of the pupils & the school are taken into consideration. He has a past of shortening the school day then shortening the school week (probably why the OBA picked him since that’s right in line with what they want anyway), he also is known not to be a peoples person with the staff, media or even the parents of the students (can we afford such controversy in these times?). All this is based on established facts, this isn’t even going into other unethical allegations that are listed against him. Either way all this lead to him having to turn in his resignation from his post in the U.S., on what grounds does any of this make him the “right man for the job”. Unless the bottom line & not our children of the soils future are more important to the OBA (which is coming out pretty loud & clear).

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        “Outsourcing critical operations”? No, Cedarbridge is outsourcing one backoffice admin function. It’s a non-critical operation. Actually teaching kids is the critical operation.

        As far as zi can see this man looks well-suited for the job. We need someone with no axe to grind who will come and shake up education and make it work.

        11 PLP education ministers in 14 years hiring the same old insiders couldn’t do it.

    • Terry says:

      First time I have agreed with Drifter in years.
      Short and to the point.

    • Hey IDIOT says:

      You don’t care because it only effects the Kool-Aid peoples kids as you call us.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Why thankyou. I’ll have a rum to celebrate.

    • Not Surprised says:

      Please don’t try to lay blame at the feet of the MOE staff for the damage Heatley will cause. His track record speaks for itself. He hasn’t had the interest of students at heart with his last 2 positions so why should we think that he is going to have the interest of Bermuda’s children at heart. We cannot afford for our Public Education system to be toyed with for another 3 years.
      The truth of the matter is this man should not have been hired from the beginning. Warren Jones thought that the Bermudian public were just going to take this appointment lying down and now that he is coming up against opposition he thinks bullying is the way to resolve this.
      The solution to this problem is simple:- 1)Terminate the contract with Heatley before he can cause any further damage to our eroding education system; 2)Fire Warren Jones for making this appointment and his handling of the public outcry; 3)Appoint Dr Matthews as the interim Commissioner while continuing the process to find a more suitable and qualified Commissioner to move our Public Education system forward.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        His “track record” is that he was denied a job because he opposed gay marriage. In other words, he has similar views on the subject as the PLP.

      • North West says:

        Matthews is a bigger joker than Jones! lmao

      • Honestly says:

        Really? Dr.Matthews!

    • Colourless says:

      Several names were called as possible local COE’s. The former school of one name would be be up in arms, and understandably so, should the person be given the post and the present school of the other would be equally disgusted. Both persons, on a scale of 1-10 would likely receive minus one with regard to their school management abilities. Two other persons mentioned would not be able to improve the sorry state of public education. We are caught between a rock and a hard place. One can only hope that Dr. Heatley will do his utmost to disprove and dispel the unfavourable blogs and, in so doing, move our education system up a few notches – here’s hoping!

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      By your reasoning, Triangle Drifter,, “if the Bermudian candidates who applied for the job are already senior people in the MOE are more than like part of the problem”, then you must be saying that Mr. Jones is also part of the problem. After all he is a senior person at the Ministry and according to him, the “buck stops with him”.

      You can’t have it both ways you know.

      • Sandy Bottom says:

        LaVerne, if Mr jones is part of the problem along with all the Bermudian candidates, as you’re implying, then they were right to look elsewhere.

        You can’t have it both ways, you know.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Never said he wasn’t. Never passed judgement on him. If he is, out he goes. No complaints here. There, feel better now Laverne.

  4. God 1st says:

    By the time Dr. Edmond Heatley’s contract is up it will be time for us to navigate and head for the polls.

  5. Joey-Bag-O'doughnuts says:

    Funny, back then when Bermuda had her 9 or so high schools and as many primary schools, Bermuda was a nicer, more courteous place. The children were well behaved and the tourists loved to see them on the buses and used to go nuts watching how well mannered they were as they stood up when the elderly or women came onto the bus.

    Today, with all the “progress”, the children are rude the education is sub standard and the product put out is so terrible and the parents seem to have no recourse as government and especially the union tells the teachers and schools what is on the agenda.

    What a shame. And then people look at the problems we have and nobody knows why when the truth is staring them in the face. Progress!

  6. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    Triangle Drifter,

    If you are correct, the only way Heatley can do a decent job is to get his broom out and sweep those who oppose him out of the door and hire a new team. This of course will not happen.

    The members of the cozy little club will never let this man disrupt their two hour lunches, endless, meaningless, overseas courses and four hour work days.

    Additionally, he will soon discover that this club has many members with degrees from colleges/universities that are useless.

    Your comment regarding “stumbling blocks” is probably true and cause for concern.

    I cannot see how Heatley can do a decent job under the circumstances. The fact that Warren Jones publicly insulted the club members makes matters worse. Incidently, with all those”doctors” on the payroll, does he have a doctorate in anything?

  7. Ha! says:

    Agree triangle! Obviously the head honchos at the moe didnt make the cut. If any of them did, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Hopefully they are the first to go if changes need to be made.

  8. Webster says:

    I am still not to sure if the new education commissioner had negotiated
    with the P.L.P. for this position…. does anyone know ?
    Also did Dame Jennifer, bring in some lady to over see some educational matters ?also remember that educational expert at the college, and all the money we spent on him !!!! well he sure got a golden hand shake….
    I think his name was GREEN.

  9. Ghost Rider says:

    Put this fool on the next plane smokin’!…
    he is NOT WANTED here.

  10. Kiskadee says:

    Obviously this man was hired as there is so much dead wood in the Dept of Education. They all need to be replaced. Why an American was chosen is difficult to understand since we are following the Cambridge curriculum. Warwick Academy has improved over the last few years as can be seen by their good results since 2 British trained teachers are now heads of the Primary and Senior schools. Some of these teachers with doctorates come from colleges in the US no one has heard of .

  11. livingonrock says:

    I am sure the Government must have known that they would face criticism for choosing a non-Bermudian, which makes me think they must be doing this because they are convinced that it is in the best interests of our children. The situation with public schools is too serious and important to allow it to be used for political football and I would urge civil servants and the unions to accept this decision and work together with Dr. Heatley. Those who might be considering trying to disrupt his efforts to promote their external political agenda need to examine their conscience

  12. Webster says:

    When will we stop this crap,all we do is argue about everything !!!!!
    Black versus white /bermudians verse non bermudians ….we need to grow up and do the right thing for bermuda.

  13. Mazumbo says:

    It will never stop, this is an avenue for people to show their hatred , it’s more CIVIL this way, not too long ago it was lawful for the oppressor to undermine and intimidate the oppressed and was sometimes brutal, so this is the CIVIL version yesteryear’s normality. LMAO

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      That’s how you think isn’t it. For you, this isn’t a means to debate points and share opinions. For you this is a means to “show your hatred”. Amazing really.