Simons: Ensure System Is Positively Functioning

October 9, 2018

[Updated] “Let’s get the staff and infrastructure in place to ensure this new standards based system is put in place and is positively functioning,” Shadow Education Minister Cole Simons said.

Mr  Simons said, “It has come to my attention that some teachers are promoting students to the next grade levels in English and Mathematics only to be told by their new English and Mathematics teachers a week or so after being in the higher grade level, that their skills were not at a level where they ought to be and did not meet the criteria required to progress to the next level.

“This problem speaks clearly to the challenges faced in the Ministry of Education especially when it comes to the standards-based grading system which was recently rolled out.

“Again, like other new systems rolled out by Department of Education, this plan was not complete and all of the systems protocols were not in place. Teachers were not prepared for the roll out. The data in the schools computer systems were not accurate or complete .

“Just three weeks ago, our schools and teachers returned from an extended summer holiday during which time the Department could have better prepared our teachers for this standards based grading roll-out and remedial action could have been taken, if required.

“Instead, just last week a survey was launched amongst teachers to assess their readiness of the standard grades-based programme. In addition, our Commissioner of Education just held a meeting for people to be trained to raise their awareness skills and to move the programme forward.

“Here one should note that our community ought not be surprised by this state of affairs.

“This Government has had challenges in recruiting qualified educational officers and, as a consequence, they have yet to fill the senior Mathematics and English officers roles in the Ministry, despite the fact that these roles were budgeted for. These officers are a must as they drive the English and Mathematics standards-based grading programme, and other Math and English curriculum matters.

“If no one applied for these posts locally, then the Ministry should have advertised and secured qualified specialist educational officers from overseas where standards based grading programmes have proven to be successful.

“In light of the current situation, I am asking the Minister of Education to roll up his sleeves and get more involved so that our students can perform at the levels that they should be at at, and that they achieve more positive academic outcomes.

“Earlier this year, the Minister said that all schools would have to introduce ‘strategies and initiatives to improve Cambridge Checkpoint and IGCSE results for English, math and science, with an added focus on improving results for mathematics’.

“He went on to state that a ‘comprehensive plan’ would be developed focused on improvements to English and Math teaching. He said the Department of Education and ‘school leaders’ would support the delivery of ‘data-driven, professional learning at the school level’.

“He added: ‘Professional learning experiences will include standard-based grading, formative assessments, project-based learning, teaching of mathematics at the primary, middle and senior school levels and inquiry-based learning and teaching strategies goal training for the preschool level.’

“What has happened? Why has he dropped the ball?

“Let’s get the staff and infrastructure in place to ensure this new standards based system is put in place and is positively functioning , as no child can be left behind when it comes to language and numeracy skills.”

Update 4.50pm: Minister of Education Diallo Rabain said, “Standard Based Grading implementation issues and the lack of Educational Officers are issues that existed going back as long as 2012 and certainly existed when the Shadow Minister sat as the Minister of Education.

“The marked difference is that this government is tackling the issues ignored for years by the four Ministers of Education during the OBA tenure.

“We will not allow hollow statements from the Shadow Minister, about issues he did not sufficiently address when he was the Minister, to deter or distract us from moving ahead with our plans to ensure the best possible education experience for our students.”

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Comments (14)

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  1. Foundation says:

    “I have realized why corrupt politicians do nothing to improve the quality of public school education. They are terrified of educated voters.”
    — Miriam

    Remove education from being a ministerial portfolio. It is the only way. Trust neither the OBA nor the PLP, but don’t fault them. They are politicians who make political decisions- not educational decisions.

    Our system is failing, and an election won’t fix it.

  2. New Bermudian says:

    I think this new standards based system is load of nonsense, designed specifically to skew the curve so it gives a false impression of the efficacy of our teachers and the achievements of our students. Nowadays, there are no more number grades or letter grades as we knew them. None. So it’s a 1, 2, 3 or 4. No nuances of difference there. 1 is a beginner, 2 means that the student is in the process of learning what they need to know but aren’t mastering the material yet, 3 means the student has learned what they need to know, and 4 means that they exceed expectations for grade level. So if my little slacker juuuust squeaks in to the ’3′ category, he’s judged exactly the same as that more ambitious kid who is just bubbling under a 4. Then there’s also the obvious subjectivity…what are the criteria, specifically, for a 4? A 3? How come the parents don’t know what those are? Then there’s the motivation issue- no more honor roll. No more A+. Doesn’t matter. Then there’s private schools- will they be on board with this grading system? Will this mean my kid will be doomed to continue in the public system because of this wackadoodle grading system? I think the Ministry has a LOT to answer for. I’m disgusted with the whole thing. So this isn’t the education of choice, this is the education of last resort. SO disappointed with it all. And it’s another generation of kids who are guinea pigs. SMH. If we could afford private school we’d pull our child out in a flash.

    • Well there is America, Canada or UK where you can go if you are that upset about Bermuda.

      • 2 Bermudas says:

        De titty milk gone sour? Now ya telling Bermudians to go somewhere else to live!! No thanks, I’m already home!! Ha ha ha!!

      • New Bermudian says:

        I didn’t comment about Bermuda, I commented about the education system. I love my country. The Ministry of Education needs to do better. So you think this new grading system is okay, then? Or is the dumbing down what you want? I want my Bermudian children to be able to compete globally for good positions. Not just get a ’3′ here in this barely adequate system.

        • Anbu says:

          Oj saw your name and assumed you were white, hence his comment about leaving the country.

      • Mark says:

        Can’t wait to bail and leave you to your third world dream. Enjoy eating Pedigree from the can.

  3. Was looking forward to seeing Goofy on de Disney Cruise.

    • Yahoo says:

      I saw a picture of Goofy/Roban with Mickey Mouse.

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      Ya, maybe BurtCoin can ask Mickey how to balance de budget?!

      • Wahoo says:

        Haha! Mickey could tell him anything and he would believe it. We need to promote the junior minister at least he could phone a friend from his UBP days.

  4. JAYBIRD says:

    Privatizing our public school system is the only way to ensure that future generations of Bermudians are better equipped and have the basic skills to give them an opportunity to participate at all levels of the main pillar of our economy, being International Business.

  5. Mark says:

    Only thing goofy on this site are your mindless Koolaid induced posts.

  6. Kevin says:

    This government just don’t know what to do …its really pretty simple and this education minister is sorry to say “useless” get on with it 15 months you’ve been in charge, if you want to blame the past go back to 2000 and follow the incompetencies.

    Berekley Police HQ Port Royal Kings Wharf st’Georges golf , Fire and police
    we have 2 temporary bridges in St.georges that have been in place almost 15 years
    Hey you voted for them now guess whose children will suffer …..Yours…