BUT: ‘Direct Result Of A Lack Of Action By Govt’

December 6, 2018 | 22 Comments

“The situation today is a direct result of a lack of action by Government to address the needs of schools and teachers that we highlighted last week,” President of the Bermuda Union of Teachers Shannon James said, adding that “as I said then, people have just had enough and that has not changed.”

His comments follow after the Education Minister confirmed that para educators throughout the system called in sick today, which marks the latest development in ongoing issues regarding education.

Last Friday almost all the teachers at West Pembroke School called in sick after agreeing to go on work-to-rule last month, School Principals are also engaging in work-to-rule and last month the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] confirmed that teachers “voted to take ‘appropriate action’ over issues they say are negatively impacting schools.”

In response to the Minister’s press conference today, Mr James said, “Many of our para educators do not have breaks from their assigned students, are working without a job description and have not been given the entitlements they are due under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“We have heard a lot about Plan 2022 but in order for that to work effectively, things must be fixed before then. As I said before, windows in schools are not working, some fire alarms do not work and computers often do not have fully functioning software.

“We have education therapists with no job descriptions, we still do not have education officers for Math, English and Science, where there used to be nine Mentor Teachers there are now three and there are no allocated substitute teachers at primary schools.

“In his press conference today, the Minister criticized the action saying it affected the students, but his lack of action affects students more – the list of issues we have highlighted all impact students because our teachers cannot do their job effectively. He said he is negotiating with us, but he needs to talk less and act more because the time for talking has long gone.”

Video of the Minister’s press conference held earlier today

“I find his remarks on the grades to be very misleading,” the B.U.T President said.

“As we have said before, teachers are confused on standards based grading and, therefore, the grades that have been entered have not been as accurate as they need to be. Standards based grading was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“The ways in which teachers have arrived at a grade has varied from school to school due to the lack of training around standards based grading. Parents have expressed great concern over teachers not being able to explain this new way of grading and has left them utterly confused.

“Again, the Minister can talk, but practical steps need to be taken, urgently, to address the issues we have raised.”

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Comments (22)

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  1. watching says:

    Mr James states -

    “The situation today is a direct result of a lack of action by Government to address the needs of schools and teachers that we highlighted last week”

    Does he really expect all issues to be rectified in one week? The Minister articulated that what could be fixed is in train, and what can’t be fixed immediately will be discussed and a plan implemented. And he also said that certain things were in discussions regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so clearly that process has to finish.

    I find the BUT and teachers’ actions quite egregious with regard to this industrial action, and attempted bullying of the government.

    • Double S says:

      Hahahaha.

      Between 2013 and mid-2017 each and every industrial action and/or complaint by the BUT towards the Government you praised and sided with the civil servants involved in the action and labeled it as democratic rights yada, yada, yada.

      Now that is happening under your preferred Government, you see it as bullying.

      Hahahahaha.

      Jokers.

      • Suetrott says:

        The Minister met with the Union to review their concerns, and outline a plan of action. I am struggling as to why the Union continues to utter that no practical steps were taken, it was also outlined that some things will be fixed quickly, while others will take time. Seems to me the Union is not been fair.

        Looks like the Union is trying to Bully the government.

        These things have been going on for a long while, why is the Union not working with the government to address them 1 by 1. After all the Former Government did not even give them 1 meeting. Here is a government trying to work with the Union, and we have this unnecessary push back.

        Maybe an Education Authority might entire Accountability within the system. Lets see if the Union agrees on that idea. Likely no, too much accountability for them.

    • question says:

      Oh right. All these problems started a week ago then, did they?

      Funny how suddenly industrial action is “bullying the government”. You lot are hilarious.

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      PLP did say schools would be READY before the school year started! YA FAILED…………..

    • DeOnion says:

      Silly comment award – clearly the issues raised by mr James have gone on for much longer

    • aceboy says:

      LOL

      Bullying the government now is it?

      You are funny.

  2. Stinky D. says:

    Lack of action by Government
    This comment is echoed throughout the small business community as well.
    Businesses are trying to grow and employ people but are being slowed up by different government departments taking too long

  3. Deep Throat says:

    BUT hits back …. next round ‘ding, ding’.

  4. red rose says:

    Good stuff from the BUT! Para educators out, assistants out …. BUT completely fed up… the evidence is mounting that this is a Minsterial/Ministry issue not, as the Minister claims, a union issue ….

  5. DeOnion says:

    The Minister blames the teachers for the grading issues but the teachers say:

    “As we have said before, teachers are confused on standards based grading and, therefore, the grades that have been entered have not been as accurate as they need to be. Standards based grading was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
    “The ways in which teachers have arrived at a grade has varied from school to school due to the lack of training around standards based grading. Parents have expressed great concern over teachers not being able to explain this new way of grading and has left them utterly confused.”

    This was introduced under this watch STOP passing the buck!

  6. lol says:

    Government in general is slow and lacks action. We will still be waiting on BurtCoin in 2025

  7. MM says:

    The schools have had maintenance issues for years , remember Spicelands Middle S chool was closed for a few weeks and the students were bused to Clearwater.Dellwoo d Middle School was closed a few times. I think available funds determine repairs and staffing , these matters have risen under both PLP and OBA governments,
    .

  8. John E. Thorne says:

    We need an Education Authority yesterday!
    Both parties have been screwing up with education since 1968!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      About right. The more Government stuck their noses into education the worse it became. Over the decades the standard of public education got worse & worse while the DOE got bigger & bigger.

      Scrap the DOE. Create a BTA type for education. Involve private education people education people. They seem to know how to do it.

  9. Vote no more says:

    Wers the marchers, twitty and dem..

    • Unbelievable says:

      They won’t march against the PLP. We ALL know that.

      • PBanks says:

        That much is true. The next time the so-called People’s Campaign speaks up against the current govt will be the first.

        No, a new, unaffiliated, and legit pressure group would need to rise up to challenge the current govt on their inability to effect change.

  10. Justasuggestion says:

    Go Private. Never see Saltus staff strike and they deliver the best results on Island. Just saying.

    Who’s on strike next……….. I’l say the postmen because its too wet to deliver mail in the winter.

  11. Taxpayer says:

    Maybe the BUT needs to switch tactics and frame their cause to align with one of the things that the PLP clearly have no issues with acting instantly on regardless of cost.

    For example, link under resourced schools with same sex marriage, and not only will the cash start flowing in within seconds, churches would also take an interest in helping solve and do fundraising separately for the schools as well.

    Alternatively, the BUT can find some way to link themselves with the Black Panther movie, PLP through themselves a fundraiser themed on that were they and their support base played dress-up and make believe instead of addressing any real issues; though I heard they raised a good bit of cash for their political party.

  12. Stevie says:

    Hit the head of the nail. If OBA in power…then all hell will break loose. Where are you Furbert..Tweed? Oh so @@@@@@ silent again.

  13. Realist says:

    You reap what you sow as the chickens come home to roost! The then PLP opposition rallied the unions and teachers in a campaign of lies and exaggerations about the condition of schools. They were so aggressive about it that one would think these problems were dire. Then as a result of their successful campaign, they are now in the Government and in the hot seat. But wait, didn’t they promise these problems would be fixed asap. Didn’t they promise to put children first. Well, the chickens are coming home to roost. The unions are in the business of only protecting teachers not children, as they are paid to do that. The Government is paid to protect the rights of children and there is no grey area in doing that. But when a dishonest, political campaign is used to lie and deceive, then why be surprised at what we are getting today. To the people that voted this Government in, you too have reaped what you have sowed. So the time has come to accept that no Government can fix education like it is a car engine. It is the humans involved that must want to do better and then do just that.

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