Shadow Minister On Substitute Teacher Funding

October 7, 2015

[Updated] “The OBA Government seemingly continues to put Bermudian children last in their list of priorities, as evidenced by their decision to eliminate funding for substitute teachers,” Shadow Education Minister Lovitta Foggo said.

“In spite of the many promises and assurances that education would not be compromised, we are now faced with an abrupt and callous decision that has the potential to negatively impact the normal operations within the halls of our public institutions of learning,” Ms Foggo continued.

“It is reprehensible that the stoppage of this crucial entity, ‘substitute teaching’, is the consideration arrived at by the OBA Government. This service is imperative in ensuring that during a teacher’s absence, normal classroom activity continues uninterrupted.

“Again, when do our Bermudian students come first?

“When monies to the tune of up to $77 million have been allocated to a sporting event most of us are not involved in, the question begs, why have funds been slashed for what is one of the most important Ministries – Education? Our children, our future must take precedence.

“It is wholly unacceptable that educational manpower be cut. The OBA Government assured us during their most recent budget debate that the education profession would not be negatively impacted.

“In fact, when the substitute teacher budget was severely slashed from $1.8 million down to $ 500,000, the OBA’s response was that with the restructuring that they would put in place, the substitute services would run as per normal.

“Today, we see the OBA abandoning this vital service. What will happen next? We constantly hear murmurs that there have been no decisions on closures of schools, but can we trust this? No, absolutely not!

“Can we trust the OBA Government after this latest heavy blow meted out on Education? No.

“Teachers know how crucial the substitute teachers are to the everyday running of our schools. Why doesn’t the OBA and the third OBA Education Minister?

“This decision needs to be immediately reversed and our school personnel, students and parents need to know that the classrooms will be adequately manned. Education has already had to endure shortages of therapists who provide an invaluable service to students needing such. What next will be slashed from education?

“Education must come first! The future of our children in public school depends on it,” concluded Ms Foggo.

We asked the Ministry of Education for a response last night and will update as able.

Update 5.46pm: In response, a spokesperson said, “The Department of Education would like to inform the public that the matter relating to the hiring of substitute teachers has been resolved. The recent hiring freeze will not impact the hiring of substitute teachers as previously stated.

“Despite the current budgetary constraints, the Department of Education remains committed to ensuring quality education for Bermuda Public School children.”

In addition, the Minister of Education Wayne Scott stated: “There was a temporary interruption in hiring. But from the outset the Government had resolved to exempt teaching staff from the mandated freeze and never agreed to cut substitute teachers.”

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Comments (44)

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  1. Justin says:

    Funny she wasn’t shouting from the rooftops during the Beyonce concert and all the project overruns during the PLP’s reign… Clearly she’s suffering from a hangover!

    • Johnny says:

      Justin, you were, but you ain’t got nothing to say now do you, cause obviously you don’t care about our children.

      • Justin says:

        The problem with education in Bermuda has never been about funding. Come crying to me when we can’t afford textbooks, or the school doesn’t have a roof, or there is no running water in the schools. It is astounding how much Bermuda spends per child in this country compared to other countries and the sub-average results we get. The problem in education is cultural because it is considered ‘un-cool’ to be smart in Bermuda’s public schools. Until we change that culture, we will continue to waste money on public education.

        • Johnny says:

          Textbooks stay in the class and I have to buy notebooks for my child. Teachers and parents spend their own money on basic supplies for the classroom. Please enlighten me with some figures as to where all this money you speak of is being spent on our children.

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            You are both valid in your points, but I lean more to Justin’s comment as relates to the attitudes toward education. the strongest drive towards a students success does not rest 100% in the classroom, in fact I would say the highest weight for a student success lies with the support they get at home. Unfortunately, there are some students for which that support isn’t always there for them, in that they may only have a single parent who works multiple jobs to make ends meet. I know of several former students who were impacted by this. But worse than this is that there are some students who are being told by their parent/s that an education is useless, won’t give them anything useful… I have met former students in this example. At least in my former example, most of those I have talked to have told me how their parent at least pushed and encouraged them to get an education. But, frankly when it comes down to it, we could spend double what we do now on education and still be getting the same results if the attitudes at home don’t change, too many do not see a solid education as a valuable tool and too often see school as somewhere they children can go when so they can go to work… expecting the schools to discipline and raise their child, because they can’t be bothered. A child’s mind is a potential for building a better tomorrow, but it has to first have a strong foundation from family.

          • justin says:

            Refer to point 121 on The Hopkins report (link below). I’ll even say it publicly here to save you the trouble. It states, ahem: “The system is resourced better than any other system known to us. Curriculum education officers and many schools consider that resources are not an issue…” .

            Unfortunately this fact does not fit the narrative that Lovitta Foggo is feeding you. Another example of party before country! Like I said above, come crying to me when there are no textbooks, no running water or no roofs above their heads.


          • Moojun says:

            The current Ministry of Education budget is $127,000,000 per annum. There are 6,000 students going through the public system. That means it costs $21,167 per child, per annum to have them go to Government school.

            The current cost to send a child to a private school in Bermuda is $18,345.

            You are absolutely right to ask where our public taxpayer funds are being spent in Education.

    • Paul Revere says:

      @ Justin
      Just so ppl like you can finally STFU. There were just as many whites, if not more at the entire Music Festival that entire weekend

      So STOP with ya baloney.

      So I guess all them whites who attended are PLP supporters and went to see how their money was being spent.

      You a real frigin IDIOT

      • Justin says:

        I don’t know how you connect attendee demographics to whether something was good value or not. Just a silly racist comment and not worth me spending any more time responding to.

      • hmmm says:

        Who said anything about race ?

      • Come Correct says:

        I was given 2 tickets…

    • This Government is a FLIP FLOP JOKE.

  2. jt says:

    Private schools tightened their budgets with respect to substitutes years ago. Co-workers are accustomed to covering for each other.

    • REALLY????? says:

      You cannot compare Private schools to Govt. schools.

      • jt says:

        I’m not.

        • SMH! says:

          Not everyone can afford to educate their children privately so does that mean their children should not be afforded a good education? Or should those children be made to suffer because of their parents financial situation?

          The education of Bermuda’s children should be priority, end of story!!! This is one area that should be exempt from cuts!

          • jt says:

            Don’t confuse spending with quality education.
            Now I’m comparing.

          • Justin says:

            Spending more money does not mean we are going to produce smarter children. I think we’ve proved that time and time again under the UBP, PLP & the OBA.

  3. serengeti says:

    If Foggo thinks governments shouldn’t ‘slash’ spending on Education, maybe she would have more credibility now if she had said something, for example, in 2011, when the PLP’s Budget ‘slashed’ Education spending by $15m.

    • Talk2Me says:

      So are you suggesting that this is ok because the previous government done the same.

      • serengeti says:

        No. Foggo is the one throwing around criticisms of spending reductions, not me. She is the one with the credibility problem, not me.

        I’m telling you that the previous PLP government ‘slashed’ Education spending in 2011 by 30 times the amount Foggo is complaining about today. Foggo is part of the PLP. Why doesn’t she explain to us why it is not acceptable now, but it was acceptable then.

        • LOLOLOLOLOLOL says:

          You fail to grasp that PLP at that time compared to now is an entirely different party with completely new views and direction. If you don’t understand that statement then you do not understand politics in general. OBA, aswell is also a different party from when they were trying to get into power versus now.

          • just saying says:

            If that was true then she would have been equally outraged when teachers joined the illegal strike that closed the schools for several days earlier this year.

          • Toodle-oo says:

            Despite what you or anyone else wants to think the PLP will be never be different from what it always was
            now matter who their MPs are or what they call themselves.

            People who think the ‘old guard’ are rolling in their graves ,etc , are deluded and politically illiterate.

          • Zevon says:

            The PLP at that time is the SAME party as now, with the SAME people.
            I know how they want to disown the DISASTER of the PLP years, but they can’t. It was them. The PLP. The idiots.

            • Coffee says:

              You mean the years in which you most likely bought your first , second or third home . You mean the years were you or your best friend went from work permit holder to PRC . You mean the years when the traffic into Hamilton was so thick that we were considering the best and alternate ways to move people . Or are you talking about the years when most of the worlds fortunes went into , and I quote Bernie Madoff , money heaven .
              Please let us know which of the years you write about . Oh and the same time , enlighten us why Craig Cannonier resigned from the premiership of Bermuda ?…If your not to busy ..

  4. aceboy says:

    The moaning returns. The PLP played games with Education for 14 years, minister after minister passed through the system. There’s no more money…you spent it all.

  5. Yahoo says:

    Nice try Foggo. You have zero credibility.

    “A sporting event most of us are not involved in”? Kinda like the PGA Grand Slam (aka “Tiger please come to Bermuda”) and the Music Festival (aka “Dr Brown photo opp with Beyoncé”)? Oh, I see – sailing is a white man’s sport… gotcha.

    • Toleratate says:

      I was with her up to a point and than the typical “When monies to the tune of up to $77 million have been allocated to a sporting event most of us are not involved in”.
      When will the opposition get it in their head that Bermuda is broke and the 77 million they refer to, is an investment in HOPES of greater returns. Yes, they have no DEFINITE ANSWER to the extent of it being successful, but the government has done their homework on the event. After all; what are they to do? Not even try to raise interest in Bermuda? I swear there are people so narrow minded out there that hope the AC fails simply for political reasons? How stupid is that? Do they not know that PLP/OBA/BLACK/WHITE, as Bermudians we ALL feel the fall out?
      This typical attitude of we did not bring them here so we are going to complain and disrupt is childish. The PLP bought GOLF here? What is more boring than golf?
      They paid out close to 20 million dollars OVER what the Golf Course was quoted to cost for upgrades? Forgot about that?
      Where these people born yesterday? I think sometimes they believe that we were.
      Oh, and positive investment to get Bermuda out of their financial situation results in MORE money for things like EDUCATION.
      STOP USING OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM FOR POLITICAL POINTS!!!!! Stick to the facts and motion the Government to act; your message only gets lost when you start using the subject as a political football.

  6. dont suppot party politics BUT says:

    I agree when they all had to be deceived and spending was good. How many education ministers did they go through in there tenor.
    I don’t support party politics, and I think the PLP will have to rebrand as the UBP/OBA did. They where accused of so much, and done so much that obviously lost them the election, that when they talk right now people are not believing them. So swallow your prides, and if you cant beat them joinem.

    • Jonah says:

      What a really lame post…children that are affected had no say in the manner in which the PLP managed Bda and don’t deserve the lack of concern being placed on this important issue by the OBA..

  7. Just a matter of time says:

    @Yahoo. Sailing at this million dollar AC caliber IS a white man’s sport! For the most part it is predominately white. Most black people do not own boats let alone expensive sail boats for a sport. The occasional person of colour here and there participates in sailing competitions sure. But the vast majority of people in Bermuda had never even heard of this uber expensive Americas Cup competition until Bermuda won the bid including me. Of course with other sports like golf and tennis, despite the prominence of a few excellent black athletes, these sports are dominated by white people! All you need to do is to look at the crowd demographic on any of these televised events. Where is the confusion here? Do you not remember the AC organizers denying the entry of a Black sailing team for one of the America’s Cup competitions?

    My my, some people really have their heads in the sand on this one.

    The hypocrisy is amazing.

    • serengeti says:

      “Most black people do not own boats”

      yeah, well, most white people don’t own boats either.

      What a firkin idiot comment.

    • aceboy says:

      Take a little trip into Paradise Lakes next summer.

      I think you would be surprised as to how many black people are there on their boats.

    • Toleratate says:

      Are you HIGH??? Who give a flying f*#@% who participates in this sport. WE are hosting…. It’s an opportunity for Bermuda. So your complaint is it’s not a black sport or black Bermudians can’t enter the race?
      You know I’m really getting tired of the brainwashed ignorance that I am hearing for reasons to not get behind this.
      I HATE Golf; but I NEVER complained about the attempt that the Government of the day was using the sport, to put Bermuda on the map.

  8. Just a matter of time says:

    @Serengeti: Ah, the “All Lives Matter’ move. Ok, let me put it another way so it’s clearer since you wish to play with words yet deliberately miss the point. Most boat owners who have them as leisure hobbyists here in Bermuda and around the globe, are white. That’s a fact. Most of the larger crafts in Bermuda for charter fishing and tour boats etc are white owned. That’s a fact. All of the AC competitors and the boat owners are white. That’s a fact. Therefore boat enthusiasts for this event will tend to be more white than black. Get it now? Just like local cricket and football here tend to be attended by more blacks. It’s about where the interests lie. Now because this AC event is such a big event, of course you will get a cross section attending out of curiosity and interest come 2017. I may even take a peek. Outside of that, the event smacks of elitism. You’re obviously confused about your surroundings and awareness on these matters and prefer to deny instead when the fearful subject of race comes up. But the reality is that there are two Bermudas. Your name calling etc certainly is disingenuous and deflective. Typical. And it’s this deflective, head-in-the-sand behavior which is part of the problem as to why we have two Bermudas.

  9. Truth Hurts says:

    Tell the overpaid underworked teachers to cover each other. Our teachers are among the top 3 highest paid in the world… shared sacrifice!

    (and the peer pressure might convince workers not to be too sick!)

    • Betty Dump says:

      Let me see you mangage a class for 1 day… Then tell me teachers are under worked!

    • Bermy.The.End says:

      Truth Hurts, U must hate your job.

    • Johnny says:

      Basic groceries in Bermuda are the highest in the world too. 1 loaf of bread + 1 carton of eggs + 1 carton of milk + 3 oranges = $20 – Utterly ridiculous!!

  10. clearasmud says:

    People need to keep the conversation where it belongs and that is to hold this Government accountable for what they say and do. That is what we are all susposed to do.

  11. Kevin says:

    lets pay the substitute teachers a straight rate of $30 an hour ,not the stupid rate negotiated currently.

  12. Bermyman says:

    It costs more to educate a public school child than a private one! Figure that one outnand their lies your problem!