Minister: Committed To Our Children’s Education

June 29, 2017 | 44 Comments

“The Bermuda Government has made, and continues to make, great investments for the benefit of our teachers and students”, Minister of Education Cole Simons said today [June 29].

Minister Simons said, “A lot has been said about the lack of commitment by the Bermuda Government to support the development of our young people.

“The Bermuda Union of Teachers has been talking about our lack of commitment. The PLP is providing misinformation, and continues to mislead Bermuda by stating that the One Bermuda Alliance Government is not committed to the development and education of our young people. This is the furthest thing from the truth.

“So, instead of going back and forward with Union and the PLP, I thought that I would share the truth with Bermuda, and her young people. The truth is that the Bermuda Government has made, and continues to make, great investments for the benefit of our teachers and students. Do we have it right 100% of the time? No, but the investments we have made represent the optimal commitment given the fiscal pressures we face, particularly with the massive debt burden we carry, now costing more than $180 million a year in debt interest payments.

“In light of the above, I would like to share and confirm with the community a summary of the investments in Education that were itemized during the 2017/18 Budget Debate. The amounts are facts and speak for themselves.

2017/18 Budget Estimates

  • Salaries and wages increased by 3% and 6% respectively due to substitute teachers and paraprofessionals – $2.318M
  • Bermuda College – Capital grant for campus-wide capital projects, including building upgrades; health, safety and security enhancements, technology improvements – $ .850M
  • Bermuda College increased its financial aid budget by 50%
  • Department of Public Works – School Maintenance – $3.283M
  • Cedarbridge Academy works – Capital Grant – $1.078M
  • School bathroom renovations- Capital Grant – $ .500M
  • Computers, IT and furniture – Capital Acquisition – $1.128M
  • Teacher training, scholarships mature student awards and grants to external bodies – $1.737M

In addition, we invested in the following:

  • Pre-schools, primary schools and Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy – $35.6M
  • Middleschools: Sandys, TN Tatem, Dellwood, Whitney Clearwater – $16.95M
  • Senior Schools: Berkeley and Cedarbridge – $24.367M
  • Curriculum and Assessment – $ 2.639M
  • Early Childhood Education – $ 1.840M
  • Bermuda College Grant – $15.481MM

“As Minister of Education, I can confirm that the education of our children is fundamental to producing educated, productive and positive citizens. Education is fundamental to the future of the Island, setting the direction we want to go. The Education system, therefore, must be one that ensures students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a rapidly changing society.

“Their progress in learning is strengthened when parents, teachers, principals, support staff and the broader community have a clear understanding of what must be done and what is being done to achieve Bermuda’s chosen future.

“Our investments this year support the Ministry of Education’s mission to provide strategic leadership, supervision and policy direction that supports effective teaching in an inclusive and progressive learning environment that improves learning and achievement for every child.”

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Comments (44)

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  1. Jus' Askin' says:

    Must be an election coming soon :-D

  2. DarkStar says:

    Thank you for some facts!

    Now let’s see the folks who want a divided Bermuda twist this around and spit out lies and twisted versions of the truth

    • Lol says:

      Yea i give you that, they got paperwork alright to show they spending in the education dept, so how come we still have these problems that have existed for a good 20 years now if we are spending so so much on education? That goes for both parties but more to this one since it was their parents the ubp that screwed it up in the first place…

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        It comes down to structures that are too old, or new additions that were just added ad hoc. We need purpose built schools, with efficient and centralized climate control, lighting and other services that can be more easily maintained. Course to do this, we need a long term strategem of closing schools so they can be levelled and rebuilt… we also need the finances, but that is still a ways off.

  3. Jiminy Cricket says:

    A list of expenditures? Education needs reform and a big change.

    Money will not change the failed system.
    Do either of the parties have a plan focused on the actual schools, curriculum, teachers and students?
    Once you remove the mold there are still teachers that need ongoing training and students that require instruction to succeed.

    • aceboy says:

      Do you have faith that the PLP will do what they didn’t do for 14 years and fix it now? If so, I have a bridge to sell you.

      • Lol says:

        Well the ubp/oba hasn’t did anything significant since they came in so whats your point?

        • aceboy says:

          OBA has been in power less than 5 years and had a shattered broken economy to fix. PLP 14 after inheriting a huge surplus. Hopkins Report paid for but not acted upon. What makes you think they will act now?

          PLP pay lip service to serious issues and then ignore them….like PATI. They passed it but never enacted it (wonder why), the OBA had to do so.

        • No way Jose says:

          The difference is that the OBA did NOT have any money in the bank to work with . The same was not true for the PLP. They inherited an economy and a country that was consistently ranked in the top five in the work. We had money in the bank. they spent it all, borrowed more and spent that too. And, what do we have to show for it? What did they spend it on? Maybe the question should be WHO did they spend it on?

      • And I have an Airport to sell you.
        LMFAO

        • aceboy says:

          The one that the PLP allowed to fall apart? No thanks.

          • Time Shall Tell says:

            Under the PLP that same airport won best in region not once but 3 times with the last time being in 2012. SO who allowed the airport to fall apart?

  4. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    Fix the TEACHERS in the public school system then you’ll see some changes…fr

    • puzzled says:

      Nail.
      Head.

    • A Chap called Vanz says:

      Can’t get rid of Bermudian teachers.

      It doesn’t matter how bad they are.

      • wahoo says:

        We could send the kids to boarding schools for about the same price as the government pays now, the kids would have exposure to the big wide world and guarantee they come back as well rounded educated young adults capable of doing great things here. An added benefit would be breaking the gang recruitment.

        I am rambling now….even if we sent the neediest or most at risk 40% abroad for their education perhaps it would have huge rewards for Bermuda. Out sourcing education?

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          BHS, Saltus and Warwick Academy each charge about $22,000 per student per year.

          The budget for the Ministry of Education divided by the number of students enrolled in government schools amounts to about $77,000 per student per year.

          Why the discrepancy?

    • Day says:

      It is rarely the teachers who are at fault, most of the problems come from students from broken homes and/or parents who do not invest the time and effort into their children’s education. There’s a direct correlation between student success and parental involvement. The issue is teachers are always blamed for the so called “failed system” when in actuality the solution begins in the home.

      • Cow Polly says:

        I remember when the UBP got rid of middle schools, which was really the last big shake up in our education system and they announced that all teachers contracts would be voided and teachers would have to reapply for their positions providing proof of their qualifications and experience. The BUT threatened and kicked up such a stink that the UBP backed down. There ended the quality of education for the next generation.

        • Day says:

          From my recollection the UBP were the ones who established the middle schools.

          • No way Jose says:

            Nobody is disputing that. What Cow Polly is pointing out is how the BUT stopped them from upgrading our teachers. This meant union jobs over our youths education.

            strange part was that the PLP protested the idea of middle schools, but then soon after being elected built ANOTHER middle school, Berkeley.

            Kinda reminds me how they came up with airport plans years ago because we needed an airport but couldn’t make it happen. but when the OBA made it happen , they protest an marched saying we didn’t need an airport after all.

      • Jus' Wonderin' says:

        Just because a “teacher” goes to East-West University and gets an Associates in Teaching doesn’t really qualify them to be a teacher now does it? Parents are part of the problem but IT’S THE TEACHERS!!! Saying it’s rarely the teachers fault means you have no clue…

        • Day says:

          Well I disagree, if a parent is behind their student success will be the end result. But when a parent/guardian allows for their child to stay up all hours of the night playing video games or watching movies, doesn’t make their child study, and then has the nerve to blame the teacher when their child is not successful, is the main reason for failures in the High School level. Ask any High School teacher about that.

      • So Tired says:

        Agree 100% @Day

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        A good assertion, there are excellent students coming out of our public system, have been for years, and ask each of them how they did it, and they will tell you it was with huge family support.
        But the truth isn’t one sided, it is a combination, quality of family support, quality of student (not always entirely shaped by the family), quality of the teachers, quality of the system and quality of the infrastructure. And that is probably in roughly the order of importance/relevance to the outcome.

  5. Caitlyn says:

    just get rid of dead wood teachers.If we are truly serious about education then lets deal with it.Take policts of of the education.I hear stories weekly of somone telling stories.
    under UBP, PLP & OBA. None of them have had the back bone to get rid of dead wood.
    Some school principal knows of teachers not performing, other teachers complain , but…. rather than adressing the issue the teacher is moved to another school to be someone elses problem.
    I feel I have been let down as the school in my area had a terrible reputation , hence I worked two jobs& with yhe help from my parents put my daughter through orivate schol to give her a good education.
    I had to pay twice as a tax payer I pay for kids to be educated, then I paid for private school & it cost more to educate a child in public school.
    There are some truly dedicated and great teachers,and there are some that are not!

  6. cpm says:

    Mr Charles
    Please tell me which school needed a toilet roll-my child might have been attending the school
    I can contribute some rolls

  7. Ms. G says:

    Bermuda seems to be in a sad case of affairs.

    • Bob says:

      Ermmm…do you live in Utopia?

      Let’s see – Trump / Brexit / etc…

      The world has problems …shhhh!

  8. Whimsical says:

    SMH at SOME of the comments …..CLEARLY coming from those on the outside looking in…

    Sad if you believe everything that you are told….

  9. Comfortably numb says:

    Money will not solve public education, the problem lies in four areas:
    1 the hopelessly inefficient D of Ed made up mostly of failed teachers.
    2 indifferent parents who have no financial stake in their child’s education.
    3 “teachers” who should never have been hired in the first place but cannot be fired because of#4.
    4 BUT, who can and do defend the indefensible because those same teachers pay Mr Charles’ salary.

    Please note that the excellent private schools are not unionized, have minimal interference from the D of Ed, do not tolerate poor teachers [ Bermudian or Expat] and have parents who have a keen interest in their child’s education.

    QED!

  10. Realist says:

    Salaries and wages increased by 3% and 6% respectively due to substitute teachers and paraprofessionals – $2.318M

    There you have it! This is where the money is spent. Teachers calling in sick and the use of paraeducators. Here’s the rub…and a serious analysis of this needs to be forth coming.

  11. What??? says:

    Pay rise? Where? LOL

  12. clearasmud says:

    Attempting to compare public school outcomes to private schools is useless because it is not a level playing field. Private schools have the luxury of only taking the best and the brightest while public schools must take all who walk through the door. Parents who can afford to pay will be engaged to make sure that they get their moneys worth while parents who are not sure where the next meal is coming from are more inclined to leave most of the educational effort to teachers. Citing a list of expenditures as evidence of commitment to education reinforces the belief that this minister does not have a clue.

  13. Kathy says:

    There are solutions to the failed education system in Bermuda. Unfortunately, the OBA has not been interested in researching anything different to the status quo because their children generally do not attend the public schools.

    If you look at the Finnish school system and how deplorable and segregated it was back in the 1970s and 1980s you can see what they have done with it changing over to their new “comprehensive school” system (abolishing private schools and controversially forcing all children, rich, poor, white, black, Muslim, Catholic to attend school together) and you can see how this system not only was a method to improving their school system (bringing them to the number 1 spot in the world in science and math) but also helping to integrate their society.

    They have very few children in a class (10). Their teachers are the most educated in their community all of them being required to, at a minimum, have a Master’s Degree, most having a Doctorate Degree. For example, a 1st grade math teacher might have a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering. They are highly respected and highly paid and they are trained by Finland.

    Sounds like a very expensive proposal, right? And we have no money, right?

    If we care about the youth we are churning out right now who will be either productive adults in 20 years or very unproductive adults in 20 years who create societal problems for everyone; if we care and want to fix a lot of our societal division and racial problems along with criminal problems, we need to start investing NOW in our education system and our youth.

    We cannot just spend money on moldy walls. That is the minimum of services a Government can provide. That is maintenance! That is not investment!

    Can 100% of the proceeds of gambling be allocated to our education system like they do in some US states? If we were to start in September with a pilot programme like this at the Kindergarten level, what results would we see next year, 10 years from now, 20 years from now? Imagine if our public schools were actually better and more sought after than our private schools? Where would you send your child and would our society be better off 20 years from now?

    Public education has been ignored for far too long. Where is your platform for education OBA/PLP? I don’t want to know what you have done and what you have spent? I want to know what you are going to do for the youth of Bermuda going forward.

    This is the mentality we are lacking in our current Government…if we are supposed to rely on what you have done for Bermuda’s education since you have been in office, my vote would be an F “you have failed miserably!!!”

  14. John doe says:

    Damage is done New airport, AC Hotels black watch pass waisted money.

  15. Good Stuff says:

    I would hate to be a teacher only to read the comments and realize how bad a job the public thinks I’m doing. Then again, it’s not the public’s job to sugarcoat. Besides, I’m sure there are outstanding teachers and ones who realize they’re just doing the min. required. Just a thought.

    I’m always interested in the education debate. I am dying to know what the best solution is, because it seems no one actually knows. Having a younger brother, my biggest disappointment is the lack of prep senior school has provided for his transition into the real world. I can recall our guidance counselors being absolute pit-bulls!

    I still have faith in the system, but it needs reform. Generally speaking, private/ boarding schools do provide greater exposure, but I don’t think it’s the magic pill. Plenty mates from my younger days who used to brag about private school are working odd jobs in the heat; some by choice, others by economic consequence…

    • Day says:

      I will continue to say this until it happens. Parental involvement in directly correlated to student success. We cannot have Educational Reform until we have true Social Reform.

  16. TY says:

    Good start, but what about the curriculum? And the school for people with specials needs (Other side of nationals)? I’ve had a talk with several teachers and it seems that for the past few years they have been forgotten! No money, no programs to stimulate their minds or to teach basic life skills! These are still people with feelings, wants and needs and I have yet to see anything in place to help improve that facility (From both parties). Smh, it’s like they was left there to just rot away.

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