80 Minute Video: PLP Town Hall On Education

January 23, 2015

The Progressive Labour Party held a Town Hall last night [Jan 22] at Clearwater Middle School, with the meeting hosted by Shadow Education Minister Lovitta Foggo, with PLP Leader Marc Bean and Senate Spokesman for Education Senator Diallo Rabain also joining Ms. Foggo on the panel.

According to the slides shown at last night’s meeting, a “future PLP Government will embark on radical education reform” which has rigor, provides the requisite foundation/skills, is responsive and competitive, harnesses natural talents and promotes individual success.

The slides suggested phasing out of middle schools, and developing signature schools at the senior level: Academic, Techonological, Arts, Business, Sports and Special Needs School.

Slideshow showing the slides shown at last night’s Town Hall:

The slides also suggesting “providing college programmes that are responsive to the local workforce needs,” and said the plan “will not support” a return to stanines with mandatory placement to specific schools, required attendance at neighbourhood high schools, mastery assessment based on a single exam performance and inhibiting mobility of teachers/principals.

After the meeting a PLP spokesperson said, “The PLP thanks the public for supporting the first leg of the Education Listening Tour. Tonight we laid out the framework of our vision for Education Reform and already the public have stepped up, shared their thoughts and contributed in a meaningful fashion to this vision.

“We are grateful for your ideas and look forward to your ongoing participation in the process of shaping the reform of our education system.”

1 hour and 20 minute video of the full Town Hall meeting:

In the PLP’s last Throne Speech reply they suggested that the Middle School system should be phased out, and some middle schools should revert to senior schools.

“ClearWater, Whitney Institute, Spice Valley, Sandys Secondary and The Berkeley Institute are schools that will be converted into secondary schools,” the PLP said at that time, adding that CedarBridge Academy could become a part of the Bermuda College, which should works towards acquiring accreditation for full Bachelor Programmes in multiple subjects.

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Comments (39)

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  1. C James says:

    Sadly, only one in five students is in the top 20% in Bermuda classrooms.

    “Education chiefs are actively working on this”, an unamed official mentioned today, “and we expect that figure to increase to at least half”.

    • Family Man says:


      They expect 50% of Bermuda’s students to be in the top 20% of Bermuda’s students? Seriously? Please name the official that said that. And then fire him.

      • aceboy says:

        LOL Sad huh?

        • Longtail says:

          Sadder still, one half of Bermuda students is in the bottom 50%!!!!
          The PLP clearly have a lot to do to improve on this situation!!!!

          • Longtail says:

            Actually the Department of Education did a lot to improve the percentage of Bermuda students graduating under the PLP Government…… instead of basing the percentage of graduating students on all those who entered their final year, they decided to include only on those who actually made it through to taking their final exams, leaving out all those who fell by the wayside during the year. Education figures improved overnight!!

    • Lawry says:

      Clearly the failure to teach basic maths has been generational – but this still does not excuse 3 + 2 always equaling 4 when the PLP hierarchy ran things, so Thank You Ms. Foggo and Mr. Bean for clarifying that you now wish to put more (give back?) into that 20% while it remains 20%. Now, I have a bridge for sale and would be happy to take a 20% deposit with the remaining 100% due in 2114…

  2. C James says:

    “……or a quarter, whichever comes first”, the official continued.

  3. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    What I’ve seen is a lot of different ideas, not one single one to go forward with; they are throwing out ideas and not presenting a solution. It seems like they want to run with over half a dozen different cirriculums, create a whole bunch of different schools. Who is going to decide what school a child goes to, what cirriculums they will persue… the student; the vast majority of whom have no idea what they want to do for a career, so it becomes difficult to put them on a curriculum if part way through they decide they want to change? The system, through profiling testing that only shows what a student is proficient at and not what they might want to do? Where are the resources needed to manage these going to come from? In order to give the sort of specialized servicing they are talking about, will require an army of specialists in many different fields on top of the existing teachers. We now pay about $20,000 per student a year for education, but in order to try an even come close to pulling off what they have throw out there we could easily see that jump up to $25,000 to over $30,000 in a short period of time.
    Effectively, what the PLP is promoting is ideas, so many, so big, that they cannot provide the important details of what is needed, and that is a scope. Radical change is needed in our schools, but it has to be done in a scope, and with the recognition that there are limited resources, otherwise you are going to create a bigger mess and another generation will be lost… and the PLP already allowed one generation to fall through their first mess, can we afford to,let them make another one. They will need to come back with something that they can base and action in reality, because right now it is clear they don’t have a plan, just a politrick.

    • North Rock says:

      …and that is why they have never been able to do anything. No concept of planning or detail…just ideas. The one thing I never saw in all that noise was any thoughts on accountability, continuing education and proper qualification and training on the teacher side. There are 2 sides here…the teachers and the students (and their families)…they can control the first but I accept the lack of control on the latter..

    • Terry says:

      Well thought out and penned ‘Build’.

      • Huh says:

        1998 2012 Lest we forget, as a caution against EVER forgetting the 14 years of PLP economic and social terror almost killing our once vibrant beloved Island home

    • Cleancut says:

      These PLP town hall meetings are used as a YARDSTICK by the PLP to see what type of response and turnout they can gather. If a thousand sheeple had turned up, then they would esculate their politricking.

  4. C James says:

    When repeatedly asked, “Who knocked down the Wall of Jericho?”

    The official eventually replied, “Just tell me where the wall is and I’ll have works and engineering fix it.”

  5. hmmm says:

    So they said they were going to get peoples ideas, to get people to attend (bait), then they paid lipservice to that by rolling out this crazed confusion to try and appeal at least in one point to all attendees (switch).

    This is nothing but electioneering. PLP ought to be ashamed.

    Turning these smaller schools into high schools limits the resources and facilities available to the students. Dumbing down the potential education on offer to students.

    I guess they want us dumber…. why?

  6. stunned... says:

    not calculus. you find out (very easily) which countries have the most educational success with their students.

    Step 2- Review their strategies, success factors, processes and use the educated and hopefully intelligent resources at the MOE to evaluate, compare and contrast to see how we can model our Bermuda specific program after theirs.

    Step 3 – Create a framework for implementation including retraining, removing dead wood and aligning qualified people to the goals.

    Step 4 – Get buy-in at the Country level – only way this can work.

    has this been considered and if so which countries were used as references?

    • Sickofantz says:

      Well now they are all taking time off for a meeting on Monday morning. That should help the students LOL

    • Sickofantz says:

      By the way they don’t need to go and look at other countries because we already have successful schools in Bermuda. Just go and look at them.

  7. observer says:

    So what do you guys suggest LETS HEAR YOUR SOLUTIONS !

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      The answer to that from most of them will be “Something”. In other words, no viable solutions just “something”.

    • Concerned says:

      PLP shoudl revisit their numerous ideas from the past years their failed curriculums changed how many times and their numerous Ministers of Education Mr. Butler would have been the best of them all

      Scrap it all and start with a clean slate

    • Sickofantz says:

      Well I suggest reviewing attendance records at these schools to see if those that have the highest failure rate also have the lowest attendance? (At a wild guess I think these 2 factors could show a strong correlation.)

      Then name and shame the parents of low attending students. Or send them on a parenting course.

    • Blankman says:

      Step one: require everyone involved in education to send their children to public schools. That includes teachers, all Ministry staff, ALL Bermuda Union of Teachers staff, and all MP’s whether they’re the party in power or in opposition.

      Step two: restructure the Ministry. Start by making every manager justify not just his/her position but that of every member of their staff. Then have employee justify their position. In the meantime engage McKinsey, BCG, or the like to review the structure and make recommendations – this is one time that we need someone truly independent (and credible) to do the analysis so whoever is engaged has got to be non-Bermudian.

      Step three: start evaluating teachers, eliminate the deadwood, issue warnings to any that simply need to up their game, and so forth. No-one should be allowed to play such an important (actually critical) role in the upbringing of our children simply because they’ve been on the job a long time. For that matter the simple fact that they’re Bermudian shouldn’t justify it either. Of course that means that the concept of seniority has to go out the window (I don’t see how any of this – evaluation let alone the necessary housecleaning – can be accomplished if the union is still involved so that little issue will have to be addressed).

      Step four: Identify the top performing education systems in the world and see what they have in common. Can that be adapted to Bermuda. In the meantime, look at what the private schools (on the island and elsewhere) doing and why are they so much more successful than the public schools.

      That’s the personnel side.

      Then on to academics. Minor stuff, like find a curriculum and stick to it – and no nonsense that once an appropriate curriculum has been identified it will take two years to roll it out because the teachers have to become familiar with it. If the teachers can’t handle the material with minimal assistance they’ve just demonstrated that Step Three above was necessary (and justified). And the list goes on. And on. And on ……

      • what says:

        Since public education is free, some parents and children may not value it as much. With private schools the parents or guardians have to pay for it, and they will probably enforce learning from the home because they don’t want to waste their money. This is a typical private vs public school debate.

        I went to CBA. The biggest issues were that it just wasn’t a learning environment. The students were more interested in gossip and fashion. Plus I felt as if the student population was too big which ultimately became a distraction. Not to mention, we always had substitutes who didn’t teach anything. They would just sit in the classroom and babysit.

        At public schools, there is such a diverse student population. You get the bad kids along with the good kids. The bad kids can’t always keep up, they disturb the learning process, they act like animals and fight, and sometimes they bring the wrong attitude to school.

        They may have to separate children based on ability and intellectual capacity. Grouping similar children together will have a huge benefit and increase learning. Some may argue with this logic, but not everyone is going to become a white collar worker anyway.

        The teachers we did have knew their material quite well. I would never blame the ministry or the quality of the teachers.

  8. Guest27 says:

    They don’t have any solutions.

  9. C James says:


    The PLP suggestions are clearly stated on slide eleven above.

    • serengeti says:

      Yes, in fairness they have listed all their ideas on that slide.

    • Lawry says:

      Not at all; there is little substantive in those 11 slides. All I see is some slogans and platitudes with no mention whatsoever as to how the scheme will be executed, what the content of the new programs will be , what kind of autonomy school heads will be given while still having to follow a set curriculum, etc.

      • C James says:

        Which is exactly why I said their suggestions are listed on slide eleven.

  10. Newly Optomistic Bermudian says:

    I totaly agree with Phasing out Middle schools in Bermuda. It has NOT worked. Everyone knows this so why is it taking so long to discontinue it. Get on with it. All parties have had time to change it .I wish lots of these ideas were implemented by the PLP over the 14 years they were in. Why did they not do it? Any way please hurry up and fix the issues for our Bermudian youth.

  11. Terry says:

    You know the irony of all this?

    Who would actually watch an 80 minute video of these clowns talking about what they did not do nor help implement.
    And now after all these years and no power to do so (even with pie in the sky ideas/outdated) they have all the answers.

    That is why they were a great opposition all those years back then. They had people who wanted to see change.

    Now all they want is the “change” they lost when they “lost”.


    The next 2 years are crucial with all the events planned and Government working towards improving employment and business.

    Screw it up PLP and your wish from some will come true.
    Another homeland like Jamaica.

    It’s a *****.

    I need a rum.

  12. Sky Pilot says:

    the plp had 14 years to fix the schools but all they did was take care of friends and family!

  13. smh says:

    Always comparing Bermuda to Jamaica they doing way better than this island.

  14. Huh says:

    PLP – great talkers about planning to do “somefin bout edjumacation” but somehow in their 14 YEARS NUFFIN GOT DUN CUZ DEY WAZ TU BUZY FEEDIN AT DE TROUGH AN TRABELLIN AROUN DE VORLD FURST CLASSS….

  15. PANGAEA says:

    Spare the rod and spoil the teacher.

  16. PANGAEA says:

    Extend the school day to 5.00 PM

    • EDistheKEY says:

      Your children may leave school at 3:30pm but teacher don’t leave to at least 4:30 – 6pm. This may not even include the work we take home to mark in order to keep the grade book up to date. I’m not made at you (PANGAEA). I never knew how much work teachers had to do until I became one.

  17. PANGAEA says:


    You are “one in a million” it is obvious that you care.

    Define education.
    What is education ?
    Is education becoming a political football ?
    Where does education stop ?
    Is education the ability to get things accomplished ?

    All I have to do is get on a school bus in any country of the world to determine what the level of education is exhibited by the young people , frankly I am not impressed here as I see where my tax dollars are going, I am very disappointed to say the least.

    This country is spending millions with very poor results.

    How do we solve the problem ,is it a lack of enthusiasm ,some colder countries to our North achieve a much higher scholastic record, there is plenty of blame to go round,blame.

    Are we over loading the students?
    Do we raise the bar to high?
    Are we teaching to “wrong stuff” ?
    Is the home environment not conducive?
    Do students rise to the level of their own incompetence?
    A student is an office worker before becoming a trades man or an office worker.

    If the parents had a financial vested interest in their children’s education ,the situation would be a lot different, however, I realize that not every young person is cut out to join the ranks of the professionals.

    “I am as smart as I want to be “.

    ” The most intelligent man in the world is not the man who knows a lot but the man who knows where he can find it out . ”

    “Education starts on the last day of school”.

    I am not mad at PANGAEA either. !

  18. Huh says:

    Here’s how I see it. 1) PLP ignored education after 1998. PLP Govt. saw itself as the new elite & never thought they could ever lose an election. 2) PLP did not want to provide good public education because the educated might actually figure out what the PLP were up to… 3)PLP lose in 2012. 4) Now in opposition PLP get “education religion” via YouTube and tada we have a 11 slides of airy fairy stuff. 5)No action plan, no money, no trust, no hope, no Hopkins Report 6) Lest we forget, to caution us to NEVER forget how dreadful and selfish the PLP were for 14 years.