Column: Let’s Form A Maths Education Council

February 18, 2018

[Opinion column written by Shadow Minister of Education Cole Simons]

It is with heavy heart, that I read the Minister of Education’s recent statement in regards to the performance of our students in the most recent Cambridge International Assessment for students in the Bermuda Public School System.

These results are very similar to previous years’ results, and should not be allowed to continue year after year. We cannot continue to provide a disservice to our students, and by extension the community at large.

We cannot continue to walk on the path already trodden, and expect to end up at a different destination.

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This issue is far too important, and we must get it right. Mathematics is the primary tool that is required to acquire 21st century skills, provoke critical thinking, and to develop a well-rounded learners, who can effectively contribute in Bermuda’s development through improved numeracy skills and precision of thought.

As the Shadow Minister of Education, I believe that the time is now ripe for the formation of a Council on Mathematics Education. This council would consist educators, STEM Instructors, industry and business leaders, and experts in field of mathematics.

The Council would be charged with identifying best practices, and will explore promising innovations in the area of maths education. The council will secure a better understanding of where students struggle in maths education, and as a consequence will develop a framework and action plan, for the improvement of maths skills and knowledge, necessary for life.

The council will meet with school teams, teachers, lecturers, mathematics experts, and parents. They will identify, share and recommend best practices that will improve the delivery and the quality of mathematics education in Bermuda.

This body will identify key competences required by maths teachers for effective teaching. They will identify ICT tools, and media, that can be used to enrich teaching. They will also examine the professional development that are currently in place for our maths educators, and come up with recommendations for improvement.

The council would also examine the curriculum content, current practice standards, curriculum development and implementation, interventions and acceleration, and community and family engagement.

They will also examine, and assess the Ministry of Education’ leadership team’s performance, given that this team is ultimately responsible for the delivery of mathematics education in Bermuda.

In summary, the Council will make evidenced based decisions, and develop recommendations that are actionable, and will include input from all stakeholders.

If Bermuda is to improve mathematics achievement, our educational system, our educators, parents, and students must have a deep understanding of the standards prescribed, and an effective use of the practice standards should be developed.

Let’s get this right, as we owe it to our young people.

As a country, Bermuda must provide our young people with 21st century skills.

We must develop critical thinkers, and we must develop well-rounded learners, who can effectively contribute in Bermuda’s development, through improved numeracy skills and precision of thought.

- Cole Simons


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Comments (10)

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  1. Sickofantz says:

    We do not need industry and business leaders we need really really good maths teachers. Experts in teaching.No business leader knows how to teach maths! We also need classes full of motivated kids with a desire to learn. The disruptive ones should be all kept togethe rso that they can disrupt each other.

  2. Anon Ymous says:

    Ahem, isn’t this what the Ministry of Education is supposed to do? Now, if the MoE (or committee) identifies the key issue as sub-par teachers, it’s time to deal with the Union and nothing will be done. Vicious circle.

  3. Rocky5 says:

    It’s not just Maths, it’s just worse than the the other appalling Cambridge results. Time to move Education over to an Authority just like Tourism but the PLP is too focused on throwing money at problems & making their core supporters “feel good”, rather than make any REAL TOUGH choices that will make LONG TERM improvements.

  4. Wondering says:

    Just wondering. Are the maths results as bad in the private schools and if not why not?

  5. Realist says:

    Here’s where politicians talk a lot of crap! You have highly paid persons at the Ministry who should be doing this work you outline. Are you prepared to fire them or just slide them into a math council to mask their inefficiencies. Ask the teachers what do they need to get better results. Start with those in the trenches not on the outside looking in and have never taught a child.

  6. Clare says:

    Oh, no, not another committee! This is not a solution.

  7. Zevon says:

    Perhaps we could try hiring the best teachers we can find, without worrying about whether or not they happen to be Bermudian.
    Just a thought.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      I remember back in the Neanderthal age when I was in school the Dep’t of Education was in that little building on Cedar Avenue and had probably 9 people in it .
      In my primary years maybe 40% of the teachers were local. In my secondary school there was ONE Bermudian teacher and the standard of education was considered to be very good back then. One has to wonder if we’ve (well ,certain people) have made such an issue about Bermudianization that it has severely affected our standard of teaching. And we won’t even touch on the size of the MOE now !
      This is what happens when you put the issue of who’s teaching above the importance of the end result .

  8. NCM says:

    Someone really needs to proof read what these OBA folks put out. Especially from the Shadow Minister of Education.

  9. PBanks says:

    Peachy. Another former Minister of Education with something (and nothing of substance, even) to say after they’re no longer in position to influence any change. Whatever, Cole.