Shadow Minister On School Checkpoint Results

April 15, 2016

“The Cambridge Elementary School Checkpoint results provide valid reason for Bermudians to ask, why so many of our young people are struggling academically and are they being prepared for success,” Shadow Minister of Education and Training Lovitta Foggo said.

Ms Foggo said, “This also begs the question as to whether adequate and required support, in every aspect, has been provided to our elementary school system. My answer to that would be a resounding no!

Lovitta Foggo Bermuda April 15 2016

“This budget year in fact, the OBA government failed to provide our schools with the resources, conditions and manpower critical for student success. Yet, there are millions of dollars available for a questionable airport project that the majority of Bermudians don’t support.

“Our students sit the Cambridge exams every April. Neither teachers, nor students have the benefit of a full school year of instruction to prepare. This delineates a misalignment and exposes a cultural bias.

“To address this, I have observed firsthand that in our top performing results teachers have provided extra tutoring for students, offering lessons before the normal school start time and during school holiday breaks, without added compensation or in many cases even acknowledgement.

“Have teachers received continued, sufficient and appropriate training in the instructional delivery of the Cambridge programme?

“Are they given ample time to teach it?┬áIs the environment in our schools conducive to student success in Cambridge?

“Too many of the answers to these questions is no and as a result, both our teachers and students are being placed in an unacceptable position.

“The SCORE review team produced scathing truths about our current system at the elementary level. SCORE outlined that adequate resources, professional training and proper staffing is crucial for obtaining the desired student outcomes.

“So, in fairness to our teachers, we can not place the blame at their feet. The fiscal budget for this year does not provide an avenue for principals and their staff to begin to address and rectify those findings.

“The Minister stated that by April 1st 2016 he would update us regarding the status surrounding our elementary schools. This has not happened.

“The public and the educational community alike are still uncertain about the future of some of our schools. This does not help morale and fosters an air of uncertainty. These are not conditions which promote success or confidence. Our teachers, students and parents deserve better.

“I have been and will continue to engage in consultation with some of our educators to address some of the stated issues with the view to creating a better approach for enhanced performance at the elementary level. I wish to thank both those teachers and students who continue to work diligently. We have to do all we can to help them attain more.

“In this dynamic, technologically driven Bermuda and world, education for our children must increase self-awareness, self-confidence, independence, and the belief that we can and will achieve,” concluded Ms Foggo.

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Comments (15)

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  1. inna says:

    Anything positive to add Lovita??

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Course not, she also fails to add that this decline is nothing new or that under who’s watch that so much of the funding that could have been available for our schools was squandered away. Her voice was determinedly silent when the warning bells were being sounded under the PLP watch, even back when our economy was booming and there would have been revenues to address things. Now education is just a political football for her to take shots at the OBA with. I’m not even sure where these millions are coming for that she claims the OBA is spending on a new airport deal… the whole point of this PPP is because we don’t have the millions to spend. It is these misleading statements that should make us glad that she is no longer teaching our children, the damage her notion of ‘education’ could do to generations. Our children are at risk and the PLP are as void of ideas at how to address it as they were 4+ years ago, at least the OBA are actually address a report they had done, bug it will mean doing things that will upset people, because, as the report highlights, tough choices need to be made… and the PLP have shown that they would never make them

    • ReaLLyReally Bettty says:

      Thanks MP Foggo you have made some valid points. I appreciate your commitment to our children. We must all work hard to ensure the success of our children.

  2. Vote for Me says:

    Let us not participate in the blame game. Who are the fundamental educators of our children??

    My challenge to all parents and guardians!!

    What have you done (or are you doing) to ensure your child is adequately prepared to learn? Learning starts at least 4 years before a child starts primary school.

    Have we collectively taught;
    1 – discipline around sleep time and minimal TV and electronic exposure.
    2 – basic social and behavioural skills
    3 – respect for our elders such that our children will readily accept direction
    4 – the importance of education – we go to school to learn
    5 – good behavior – what did we do when our child was not chosen for the team, based on poor sportsmanship or poor behaviou5
    6 – basic reading skills, by reading to our children regularly

    My point – teachers are influential in our learning but parents, guardians and family members form the basis of learning.

    The article above notes that those children that achieve higher Cambridge results have made a greater effort through extra classes etc. Are we prepared as a community to accept our responsibility to train our children irrespective of the education system??

  3. IslandTeacher says:

    Ms Foggo, thank you for commenting on this issue. I welcome your discussion.

    When new Curriculum documents are rolled out it is customary for schools to deliver their own judicious CPD. Government can provide some guidance, but in the case of the Cambridge International Curriculum, there is a wealth of information online. We must also remember that in England they changed their primary curriculum in 2014 and the roll out was very much left to individual schools to implement and ‘unpack ‘. We know from the Hopkins inspection team, we had numerous pedagogical issues that would exist what ever the curriculum we had chosen.

    Secondly, the April assessment date is earlier than most, but if all the schools have to do it, we are not disadvantaged that much.

    I think school leaders need to be clear about the systems needed to maximise the development of early reading and writing. We must also ensure that teachers know how to develop children’s number sense so that the development of mathematical fluency and automacity is not held up.

    I definitely think we need answers to your questions. The rise in pupil achievement is not an impossible dream. I am pleased that you are passionate about this issue. It is essential for Bermuda to reduce the racial disparity in educational attainment. We cannot build a fair and equitable society if we continue to produce cohorts of predominantly Black children who are being disenfranchised from economic success. It’s not right.

  4. Curious says:

    Oh, how we hanker for the old days, not so long ago, when we were flush with money. Where did all that go, one wonders?

  5. West End Girl says:

    There was a steady decline in education standards during the PLP years. What is she going on about?

  6. Truth (Original) says:

    If I were an average driver, sticking me in a faster, better and more expensive car wouldn’t make me a better driver. If anything, it would expose my weaknesses.

    I’ve heard many knee-jerk reactions to the poor performance of the majority of our schools and it is, for the most part, an exercise of shifting the blame from the homes to the schools.

    St. Davids is doing something different …better. We need to look at what they are doing, improve up on it and copy it. Full stop. Can we improve the curriculum and the process? Yes. But more importantly, we have to reform parenting.

    The fact that there are students that have graduated from various public schools, having done well and are doing well in the workforce, tells me that the curriculum isn’t broken. More than likely, those individuals either had a natural aptitude and desire or they had Parents that were firmly behind them and played an active role in their education ..or both.

    If we endeavor to reform education without reforming parents ideas about education, we will be having this same conversation 10 years from now.

    Improve the car? Yes.

    Train the drivers at the same time.

    If you don’t the overall performance won’t be any better.

  7. Sage says:

    Where may I peruse the empirical subject data for each school? As a taxpayer, I should be privy to such information.

  8. watchfuleyes says:

    Yes let’s look at what St David’s is doing differently. Well for starters let’s kick the other 14 students out of class so that every school has only 10-12 children in a class. Would be nice…that’s like tutoring to some schools who have big classes.

  9. hmmm says:

    Now the teachers and kids have a workable independent benchmark to work off.

    First year will have teething troubles, but it is a huge improvement on anything THE PLP had in place.

    Teachers can now also strive for the kids improvement in the areas identified before the end of the school term, so they are geared up for the next year.

    Well done OBA …first steps to a better Education for our children !!!!

  10. overboardhope says:

    Truth is right on the money. Families lack of participation in their child’s education is nothing new. Therefore it is highly unlikely that this situation will change. We need many more remedial teachers to help the students. We also need holiday tutoring. The schools need to take up the slack. This cost money, but the money will be well spent!

    • IslandTeacher says:

      Yesterday is said and gone. No political party has successfully addressed education on this island. We are where we are. Until we admit we have a serious crisis in our Government schools, society, we will never fix the problem. No one worth their salt would try and spin our system as being even adequate. There are pockets of success, but that needs to spread to every school and child.