Minister: ‘They Now Claim To Have All Answers’

May 30, 2017

“For 14 years the PLP failed Bermuda’s students. Yet they now claim to have all the answers,” Minister of Education Cole Simons said, adding that, “It is shameful that the Opposition is using our children for their own political mischievousness, but this is what we have come to expect from a group that put themselves before the people of this country.”

The Minister’s comments follow after the PLP held a press conference yesterday, with Spokesperson for Education Diallo Rabain, Spokesperson for Labour & Workforce Development Rolfe Commissiong, and PLP Spokesperson for Disability Affairs & Senate Spokesperson for Education Senator Tinee Furbert all making remarks on education.

Cole Simons Bermuda TC May 30 2017

Minister Simons said, “The Opposition clearly has a short memory when it comes to protests against the government.

“May I remind them that prior to the OBA Government’s election in 2012, there was a long history of protest and complaint against the PLP Government’s record in education. Budget cutbacks, teacher redundancies, lack of consultation, lack of collaboration, protracted contract negotiations and arrogance — all contributed to widespread dissatisfaction and disappointment with the PLP’s management of the school system.

“The PLP now want everyone to forget those lost years. They are now in election mode, and so all they say must be seen through that filter, because it is a filter that plays fast, and loose with truth, and reality and tries hard to taint the progress that is happening throughout the school system.

“Let me remind PLP, and the people of Bermuda, that in June, 2008, for the first time in Bermuda’s history, every union on the island was engaged in a dispute with the PLP Government.

“These disputes culminated in a march to the Cabinet Office. Protesters were there by thousands. There were police officers, teachers, civil servants and supporters from non-Government unions.

“At the time, the Bermuda Public Services Union President said that “no government has had a worse relationship with labor for 20 to 30 years”. It was the first time in Bermuda’s history that every union was locked in disputes overworking conditions, staffing and salaries.

“The then Premier, Premier Ewart Brown indicated that “he was disappointed with the frequency of the labour unrest…”

“For 14 years the PLP failed Bermuda’s students. Yet they now claim to have all the answers. It is shameful that the Opposition is using our children for their own political mischievousness, but this is what we have come to expect from a group that put themselves before the people of this country.

“As Minister responsible for Education, it will be remiss of me not to respond to the statements made by representatives of the Progressive Labour Party at their press conference held yesterday. I would like to correct and bring clarity around some of the statements made regarding initiatives relating to the Bermuda Public School System.

“However, first let me state that the Ministry of Education is setting in motion reforms to ensure the delivery first class, 21st Century education for our children in Bermuda Public Schools. Our focus is to provide the necessary options for success based on student needs and desires, as we continue to develop the required infrastructure and resources for the System.

“This Government acknowledges the important work that teachers perform on a daily basis. There is absolutely no doubt that teachers and all educators are critical influencers in the development of our children, through providing them with the values, knowledge and skills necessary for future success.

“With that said, let me speak about social promotion. It does not exist in our public school system. I am aware of the complexities that we have in our education system as it relates to student learning. Our students are at various levels in their individual learning continuum, and as such require different services and supports to ensure their success.

“However, moving children along indiscriminately or social promotion is not now nor has it ever been the solution. Our students are not being promoted to the next level without first meeting established minimum requirements. In this regard, we have commenced the implementation of processes and frameworks such as learning support and multi-tier systems of support so that each student has the opportunity to succeed.

“Reference was made to strengthening parental involvement in our schools through the establishment of school Boards of Governors. Parental involvement in our children’s education is without saying, a key contributing element to the quality of our education system.

“In 2015, this Government introduced legislation that provided for a framework to strengthen parental involvement in schools which included: the introduction of parent councils for maintained primary and middle schools; the establishment of a parental involvement committee for the Public School System; and, the development of a parental involvement strategy by this committee.

“This framework facilitates the direct involvement of our parents/guardians into the education of their children by working with the school leaders and having a say in the respective school improvement plans. This has much greater impact than the establishment of individual school boards.

“This Government’s promise to implement fully integrated technical education beginning in the middle schools is currently in train. The City & Guilds Mathematics and English Arts curriculum will be implemented at the M3 and S1 levels in September 2017.

“This curriculum will provide an alternative path for students who learn best through applied learning. The curriculum will allow students to enjoy their learning through “doing”. The curriculum will also assist in providing a smoother transition for students from middle school M3 to senior school S1 level. In short, students will have a choice to enroll in the City & Guilds programme at the middle school level with the understanding of continuing the experience at the senior school level.

“Also at the middle school level, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM education, is presently being delivered. At the start of this current school year, the Department of Education implemented a STEM 101 curriculum. Last summer teachers from primary, middle, senior school and the Bermuda College undertook instructors training to become STEM certified. All received the STEM certification and are now qualified as entry level STEM instructors.

“Through this training, teachers will now introduce, inspire and encourage students to further study in the sciences as well as in technical/vocational education starting at the middle school level. Evidence of this was revealed this year when Clearwater Middle School won the BIOS Robotics competition for the third consecutive year. Additionally, as early as MI students are exposed to Design & Technology classes which are delivered in four out of the five middle schools.

“I also want to add that Bermuda History is taught and covered in the public school system through Social Studies strands that include History, Geography and Civics. At the P1-P3 year levels students learn about Bermuda’s History and culture through textbooks written by Bermudian teachers to specifically cover curriculum content. There is one text book for each year level aligned to the curriculum content.

“At the P4-P6 year levels students learn about the discovery and colonization of Bermuda from 1505 to the present and cover various aspects of this information as outlined in the text book Bermuda Five Centuries for Young People.

“At the M1 to M3 year levels topics explored in greater detail are:

  • M1 – The Five Themes of Geography as they relate to Bermuda
  • M2 – Colonization, Slavery and its Abolition
  • M3 – Emancipation, Political Parties/Universal Adult Suffrage/Trade Unions/, and Bermuda in the Modern Era, Tourism, International Business and Citizenship.

“At the Senior School level all students are required to take and pass the Bermuda Studies course which covers such topics as:

  • Bermuda after Emancipation
  • Political Parties/Trade Unions, etc
  • Tourism, International Business
  • Modern Bermuda

“Lastly, the Inquiry Framework is a new initiative that was launched in 2015 with a focus on engaging our youngest learners [preschoolers] in what they do best – noticing, wondering, exploring and sharing what they are learning.

“Significant strides have been made at the preschool level in the delivery of the Creative Curriculum using an inquiry approach. This was quite evident last week as preschool teachers and administrators came together at Victor Scott Preschool to showcase some of their inquiry work as posters, displays and presentations.

“The community partners who attended this celebration commented on the children’s questions, knowledge, theories and their critical thinking. They noted the shifts that teachers have made in their practices, and commended teachers on their openness and willingness to change. The goal of the Department of Education is that inquiry becomes an essential strategy used by all teachers to ensure students are engaged in meaningful and authentic learning experiences in all subject areas.

“In closing, let me reiterate that this Government is committed to ensuring that our students are the reason for everything that we do. We value the work of our teachers, our school principals, our educators and Department of Education staff and will ensure that we serve collaboratively in the best interests of our children.”

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Comments (76)

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  1. Jim Brown says:

    Bravo sir! Spot on.

    • Fantastic says:

      Who wrote that statement for this seat warmer? In all of his years in parliament what are his 3 major accomplishments,? Research says ZERO. Remember how MP Wayne Scott promised to stay in education till the end. He did’nt. After the election Minister Simons will be gone and will never speak about education again.

      • ReallyReally says:

        He yet our schools are still not seen as the first choice by parents, and many do not have faith or trust in our education system….I questions the level of implementation and the quality of programs he mentions…are the outcomes giving us a high level of success in Education….does not appear so !!

    • Extraordinary says:

      I agree! Well said and good on him to take a stand!

      He has stated what happened clearly during the PLP’s time and we are STILL not listening. Even with facts we STILL turn a blind eye.

      Its amazing to hear people complain!

      I am in the school system and he is NOT lying. All of these things have taken place. Can someone do some research before saying he is a liar.

      I am glad he has the courage to speak his mind. THOSE are the people that get things done. He has stated what they ARE doing and what they PLAN to do. People please pay attention. Has the PLP laid out a plan of what they DID back in the day or what they plan to do … nope just words no real plan to put into action.

      Come on people wake up!!!!

      • ReallyReally says:

        And yet our success of our students is still at an all time LOW…something is NOT WORKING….NO ACCOUNTABLITY AND NO RESULTS

    • #Puttingourchildrenfirst says:

      Thanks to the PLP for seeking out solutions to change the direction of our Educational System and acknowledging the challenges. Its refreshing rather than engaging in a Tic for TAC BLAME GAME as the OBA/UBP HAVE CHOOSEN TO DO.

      THE OBA should have taken a more mature pathway, as our children deserve better than this backward banter of political chess playing.

      Continue to putting our children first PLP.

      Continue to be Solutions Driven PLP.

  2. Frosty says:

    PLP, OBA…All of you are liars

    • Scoalsy says:

      yeah but the PLP are the best at it LOL

      • Silvery says:

        the OBA are best at hiding it…..from the people.

  3. OBA one term says:

    Weakest Education Minister ever.

    • Powder says:

      How? Why? Please explain.

      • sage says:

        Please watch his statement to students at Harrington Sound youngsters concerning the school full of mites on the tv news last week. Real meme material.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      I like his style. He is straightforward, listens and is reasoned in his utterances, unlike some. Cole is okay.

    • DS says:

      This is it ! He needs to sit down. How many ministers have they had in their short term in office …

      • Very Proud & Loud says:

        Few Ministers than the PLP did. look it up.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Pointless post. Bermuda has not had a decent Education Minister in many many years. The DOE has worn each & every one of them down in short order.

      Want to fix Education? Clean out all those people in the DOE who have not/never seen the inside of a classroom in years. That is just a start.

  4. Vote OBA OUT says:

    The OBA have some nerve. They send our kids to school in rat infested schools that have mites and mold, while they spend millions on themselves and want to talk about the PLP.

    At least the PLP invested in schools and facilities and not a boat race for the 1%. OBA – you’ve had 4 years what have you done? The system isn’t getting better it is getting worse – test scores are down.

    OBA – say whatever you want – the country can see that you don’t care and come polling day we will send you packing just like we sent the PLP packing in 2012, and will continue to do that until one of you get it right!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      You should have seen the rat infestation under the PLP. They didn’t just suddenly move in in 2012, nor did mould suddenly start to grow. All of these issues the PLP inherited from the UBP, the difference is that the PLP originally had the budget ability to take action, but instead decided to throw over a hundred million at 1 new infrastructure project, all th while allowing the actual education system melt down. Now with no budget ability to adequately address the issues of the antiquated infrastructure, the PLP tries to lay complete blame on the OBA for the required foresight needed over a decade ago. There is no quick fix, it is going to to take hundreds of millions and a couple decades to address the infrastructure issues at the heart of the schools. But at least the OBA got the SCORE report done to assess where we are at at try to formulate a short term stratagem, trouble is everyone wants something done, but no one wants what has to be done. Easier to sell a fragrant fantasy than the $#!&&¥ truth.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Well, that’s a whole pile of stupid right there. The issue, is not the OBA, but entrenched ideas and deadwood in the DoE. That’s where you need to focus. More is spent per child in public schools than in private schools. Think about that. Bad teachers in private schools get fired too..think about that too.

      Also, try correlating test scores with family life – two parents at home makes a huge difference,

      The sideswipe at the AC is beneath you.

    • Onion Juice says:

      I concur.

    • Very Proud & Loud says:

      Invested in schools? More like themselves. They gave the Berkeley contract to a new company that had NO HISTORY or previous experience. The built Berkeley and that is it, the disappeared. They went 60 million over budget. The PLP then “forgave the BIU bond” Imagine how much we could have done for the kids with that money.

      To answer your other question about what have they done. here is just a few things that even you can see.

      Encouraged investment in Bermuda again.
      Reisurance companies returning .
      More people working.
      Three new hotels.
      Got us a new airport and before tyou say we didn’t need it , may I remind you that the PLP had presented their own Airport plan,, just never got around to building it
      Serious Crime down
      Tourism up
      Paying off the billions in debt that PLP left us with.
      Cruise Ships in St. George again

      And before you complain about the AC35, how about you use FACTS for once and compare it to ANY PLP Tourism project or campaign
      Faithbased Tourism Campaign
      Diaspora Tourism
      Black Mayors Conference
      Beyonce Concert
      PGA Grand Slam
      50/50 Cricket

      The list goes on.

  5. Average Bermudian says:

    he forgets that this education system was put in place by the ubp/oba

    despite public protest at that time.

    he forgets

    • Lois Frederick says:

      Please don’t forget to include the plp. They were on the Joint Select Commitee for Education Reform. Jennifer Smith was one of the plp MPs on it back in the early 1990s.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Your right, the initial strategy was put in place by the UBP. That original strategy as part of the 3 school system called for a 3 senior schools (east, central and west) and a technical school (that I believe was recommended it be combined with 1of the seniors, the original purpose of Cedar Bridge). But that stratagem was abandoned by the PLP in favour of just rebuilding Berkeley, and not following further with senior schools to service either end of the island. When that didn’t pay out with instant success, they just blamed it on the abandoned UBP stratagem that they said they were just following through with.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Er, Dame Jennifer, the great edumacator, was part of that team. Memory is really selective isn’t it.

  6. Kevin says:

    the truth will always prevail
    OBA you are not perfect and without some question
    But you are so much better than the opposition
    They seem to expect the public to forget the mis management
    No not today nor tomorrow
    PLP you Failed

    • Fantastic says:

      Haters. The world failed in 2008. Not just the PLP. But the haters will not accept that as they have amnesia and can’t recall the good years 1998 to 2008 under the PLP. Had Paula called the election when the oba was not in existence, the PLP would still be in power and able to revive the economy as well. But the haters will say no way about their own people. Haters with hatred so deep they will never recognize the accomplishments of the PLP and never acknowledge the faults and debt of the oba.

      • nerema says:

        The recession everywhere else was shallower than here, and shorter. Over and done with in 12-15 months, in all our trading partners and competitors. In Bermuda our recession last 7 years. Cox and DREB drove the car into the ditch.

      • Anbu says:

        And again i will say this. Nobody is saying the world didnt suffer in 2008. The plp however continued to spend OUR money like there was no recession. When will u party diehards realize that simple fact?! Oh wait, u just wont cause it goes against your precious band of muppets. Bottom line is the plp flopped. Bigtime. And u diehards would rather put them back just so u can say you’re in control as opposed to having a government that is getting things done. Smh. This island has been finished for years. I hope u all get what u deserve. U seem to think the plp have the answers. For your sake i hope they do. When big business pulls out tho, and trust me it will, hope you have a fallback cause you’re deff gonna need it.

  7. parent says:

    So tired of all the dribble just left my child’s school today parents watched care for your boys the teachers yes the system has too many lazy civil servants i was sadden today after discovering that certain test and programs was not put on place for my child oh and parents never ever informed so stay behind the teachers and some principals please

  8. ImJustSayin says:

    Well at least the PLP are open with their deceitfulness. Unlike the OBA with their hidden agendas.

    • bee says:

      really? you want to go there? where’s the missing $800 million?

      • Onion Juice says:

        Ask Scotland Yard, F.B.I. and C.I.A.

        • Very Proud & Loud says:

          Glad you think its funny that the 800 mil is unaccounted for.

          • Wise Guy says:

            Debt stood at $1.3bn when the OBA took over in 2012 so use your brain and logically try to process how $800M could have been missing?! Even Scotland yards couldn’t find it bcos that’s nothing but a lie repeated over and over and now you and people like you try to pass it off as truth..

            • nerema says:

              The PLP collected about $1bn a year in tax revenue, for 14 years. That’s $14bn or so of public funds. Plus the $1.5bn or so extra that they borrowed during the last 5 years. That makes about $15.5bn of funds at their disposal with almost no controls.

              Now do you see where $800m could have gone missing?

              • Wise Guy says:

                Surely u jest?! So in your world a goverment doesn’t have expenditures and a budget to allocate every year?? So in ur math all the goverment did for 14yrs is made revenue?! No need to explain yourself to Anbu he’s a OBAtard that believes anything said and doesn’t research anything but to the people with a brain and understand a bit of economics u have a lot of explaining to do nerema.

              • Wise Guy says:

                Your even more clever then the forensic audit by Scotland Yards.. certainly in the wrong line of work.

            • Anbu says:

              Ah kind of like OJ’s 100 mill spent on the AC so far huh?! Pick and choose to suit your agenda. No surprise coming from “you and people like you”. As u put it.

              • Wise Guy says:

                Actually it’s $250M pledged for AC it’s on the Hanzard go do some research.

    • bermybread says:

      which translates to: “I prefer the people I know for a fact are lying to my face to the people who I have a hunch are lying.”

      that’s literally what Trump supporters say.

  9. Whimsical says:

    Cole you better stop playing….don’t make me hollar….Like YOU know what you’re doing….The OBA’s track rate as far as Education is not that great either…You’re what….Education Minister 4 in as many years?….. Remember you too are being told what to do and what to say….You all are playing some serious games at the expense of our children….and it’s not right…You say you value teachers, principals,etc..surely you jest…..SMH…instead of reaping and playing tit for tat, in moving forward PROVE what you are saying…because right now… hmmph…it’s not looking good on your end either…

    • merc says:

      so what have you lot done in four years on education stop blameing and do sometime dam

    • sandgrownan says:

      Clean out the DoE.

      • Anbu says:

        Cant do that. Its racist to fire dead weight in bermuda

    • bee says:

      rather go with Cole than the abismal track record of the PLP! they left our schools in such shoddy state – they dumbed down the curriculum. Please.

      • 297Warriors says:

        So why the teachers was down on the cabinet grounds last week?

        Cole is a puppet on a string!

    • clearasmud says:

      Spot on!

  10. mixitup says:

    If they had put as much into Education as they have for Americas Cup, maybe we won’t be having this convo… But investment in our Children is just not worth it, I get it…I would have like to see this same hoopla for our kids, but no, they have to risk their lives in burning buses to get to school, and that’s IF the Bus comes and is not cancelled, or sit in Mold & Rat infested schools…and when Teachers speak up, these commentors call them noise makers, trouble makers etc. But I’m glad that the Bermudian people are paying attention.

  11. Common Sense says:

    This is a very illuminating and factual article which reminds us of where we have been, but also cogently explains where we are going. There are those who will always blame the Government or the teachers. We need to literally take the politics out of our educational system and all work together for the good of our children. Endless sniping at whichever political party is in power is totally destructive of the system we are trying to improve.

    I note that not one single person responding to this article has actually criticised what the Minister of Education has said. Instead we read reams of nasty, insulting comments which serve no useful purpose.

  12. Coffee says:

    This from a guy who has no ability to speak well !

  13. Vote for Me says:

    We are truly in election mode…

    Minister Simons – did you have enough confidence in public education to send your daughter to a public school?

  14. UmJustSaying says:

    For the NUMber of ministers we have had says a lot about the type of LEADership over the years. Those supporting the
    Party must share the blame for our failure in education.
    We need all NEW candidates that will represent the people. Not these old salesman selling the same Bull.

  15. aceboy says:

    So, making education part of their platform for getting re elected isn’t exactly taking the politics out of education…is it? In fact it is USING education to try and get reelected. The PLP have no shame.

  16. DS says:

    My thoughts precisely !

  17. Triangle Drifter says:

    Perhaps the biggest promise/lie that the PLP made in 1998 was that they were going to fix the sorry state of affairs that education was in, & had been in for a very long time.

    The PLP were utter failures too. Despite gobs of money thrown at education the uselessness at the DOE continued on as it continues today. All the PLP did was churn through Ministers, as the OBA continues today, & the ineptness of the DOE continues.

    No Minister has had the jingles to deal with the DOE & clean it out.

  18. Mary says:

    the PLP put no funds back into school infrastructure or school properties in fact they run them to the ground now they have a magic wand and a fairy story for us to believe they are gonna fix all Bermuda’s problems ……..please

  19. Politricks says:

    About time the OBA came out swinging against the relentless misinformation campaign by the PLP.

  20. Rocky5 says:

    Bermuda needs PLP back with Ewart & Paula “Platinum Period”, big conversation, Port Royal, TCD, Kings Wharf, magic bullet, I had to deceive you Uighurs, BLDC Report, PHC secret lease, Sandys 360 double payments, Rev. BEAN Whites Island free lease, $120M/year consultants, Global Hue just to name a few…

    • Onion Juice says:

      Dont forget JetGate too, oh that was de other guys.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        No, that was the one that did not cost the taxpayer a single penny. It was also the one where the politician did the honourable thing & resigned his position.

      • Anbu says:

        Yes dumba$$ and it cost everyone absolutley nothing. How much d pee el pee cost us/u again?!! Oh wait, it doesnt matter to you and oxygen thieves like you

    • Wise Guy says:

      Debt has doubled in 5yrs of OBA rule

    • free gas says:


    • Earth watch police says:

      Plp couldn’t run a snowball stand bunch of jokers

  21. Concerned says:

    How many Education Ministers did the PLP have during their time? One comes to mind who was kicked in the arse by EB.. after a school meeting in the East End the morning after

  22. Bermudian says:

    Start with the teachers…doesn’t matter if Bermudian or expat. Deadwood needs to go! Our kids deserve better. We as parents should hold teachers at a high standard. Have you heard the way some teachers speak? But then again if Gov’t attempts to change anything in the DOE there’s an uproar and strikes. Do you really think mold or mites is the cause of our children not learning at the level they should be? No, its the teachers, the students and the parents. Please stop blaming the OBA for this failure as this has been a problem since I was going to school some 30 years ago. Seems like neither Gov’t of the day has been able to grasp a hold on this issue.

  23. karen says:

    That’s RIGHT THE PLP had their turn for 14 YEARS, and did not fix one SCHOOL yes they have ALL THE ANSWERS, you know what they say “SAY what the people want to hear” they did nothing for BERMUDA or its PEOPLE except LIE AND …..

  24. Jeanna S says:

    Cole Simons has not a clue. Business is a science, Education is a science and an art!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Kathy says:

    If you are the ones in office, dont tell me what you will do, twll me what you have done in the term you have been in office. In this case, sadly for our youth, I dont see any improvements whatsoever!!!!

  26. Staywoke says:

    How about the world before colonization and slavery…. Tired of schools teaching slavery bs… Africa started the world… Teach that!!!! Without african intervention there would be no europe!!! Not racism here… This is fact!!!

  27. Smh says:

    Lets be real..the state of our Education system has sucked pre-PLP..during PLP n post PLP. Im sick of our “leaders” constantly pointing fingers at each other with no real solutions or action plans in sight. At this point I’ve had enough and given that I have a child in our Senior school system I have to say that education has definitely deteriorated over the last 2 decades and its unacceptable.

  28. overboardhope says:

    So glad that the OBA is introducing LEARNING SUPPORT. Lets help our kids instead of social promotion.

  29. Wow says:

    The fact that the OBA is coming across as they have done anything to help the education system since they have been elected in 2012 I wish the politicians would stop worrying about keeping their job and look out for whats better for the island and what your grandchildren and great grandchildren are going have to be apart of becusse all you polictians are worrying about is a check and who is in power. What happen to being about the people and in this case future generations and you wonder why our young people are the way they are because that older generations are not even setting an example