‘Is It Time To Consider An Education Authority?’

December 7, 2018

Saying he is “distressed with the state of play with our teachers, para-professionals, principals, the BUT and the Minister,” Shadow Education Minister Cole Simons asked is it time to consider “an Education Authority to take the politics out of education.”

His comments follow after the Education Minister confirmed that para educators throughout the system called in sick yesterday, with the President of the Bermuda Union of Teachers Shannon James saying the situation “is a direct result of a lack of action by Government to address the needs of schools and teachers that we highlighted last week.”

Yesterday’s ‘sick out’ marked the latest development in ongoing issues regarding education, as last Friday almost all the teachers at West Pembroke School called in sick after agreeing to go on work-to-rule last month, School Principals are also engaging in work-to-rule and last month the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] confirmed that teachers “voted to take ‘appropriate action’ over issues they say are negatively impacting schools.”

Mr Simons said, “As the Shadow Minister of Education, I am very distressed with the state of play with our teachers, para-professionals, principals, the BUT and the Minister.

“We all, as stakeholders, should remember why we are involved in the delivery of educational services to our young people. We all made a commitment to help and support our students, so that they can reach their potential, be good citizens and are positioned to succeed professionally.

“This tension, dysfunction and challenge that we see today truly demonstrates how  the Minister and the Ministry are disconnected from what really transpires in our schools from a teaching,  para-professional, administrative, professional development and support perspective and, more importantly, parental perspective.

“There needs to be more synergy and better communications with all stakeholders so that there is a higher level of trust. All parents, teachers, para-professionals, principals, educational officers the Bermuda Union of Teachers, the Ministry and the Minister should all be on the same page  in regards to ensuring that a vision for Bermuda’s education and our young people is achieved.

“Is it time to consider, as others have suggested, an Education Authority to take the politics out of education? We said in our Reply to the Throne Speech in relation to the success of the Bermuda Tourism Authority that “We believe that an Independent Education Authority would do similar great things for our children”.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Suet says:

    Minister your been playing Politics from day one, each article you publish is an indication of POLITICS. LETS BE HONEST.

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      Education was 90% of the Pee El Pee’s platform. Are you going to hold them accountable? I doubt it.

  2. HELLO OBAERS says:

    Minister your been playing Politics with Education from day one, yet you sing out lets not play Politics with Education. The reality is you been doing it ever since. This is a political strategy by the OBA, but some of the folks are sleeping and do not realize their objective.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      In the 1960′s the Dept of Ed consisted of about 6 people (who were probably 70% expat) located in an old building on Cedar Avenue. Back then we had an excellent across the board standard of education and achievement.
      What’s changed since then ? Dare you speak it ?

      • PBanks says:

        Now we’re getting to the ‘juicy bits’… who’s really running the show, is there a common thread, and is there a certain allegiance that’s dampening the prospects of children today?

    • Wahoo says:


  3. Deep Throat says:

    I think the time for an education authority – with representatives appointed by an independent board – is long overdue

    • lol says:

      Yes, make an independent authority so the hard working people of the authority can fix all the problems and then once it is up and running VERY well then the PLP can do another hostile take over, start to dictate, ruin it all (bound to happen), then the cycle continues.

  4. watching says:

    Funny how this guy has all the answers now, but did absolutely nothing when he was the minister.

    Folks might have issues in education right now, but don’t misunderstand and think that they have any confidence in the OBA to solve them.

    • They had confidence in the OBA... says:

      after the failed results of the last PLP administration..which has saddeled this country with a suffocating debt burden…

      history is beginning to repeat itself now…may take 12 years but watch…

      jah love..

    • trump supporter says:

      Are you suggesting the current administration is going to?

    • DeOnion says:

      When the OBA came to power the PLP had been in Government for 14 years – there is no way anyone could have fixed the PLP’s screw-up in four years!

      • PBanks says:

        I think the problem is that the OBA didn’t appear to even get things back on track. All we had was a study or two, some debacles with Education Commissioners, the continued rotation of Education Ministers, a brief feeling-out process of consolidating primary schools (which met with public resistance) and what else?

        It’s just been bad all around, both parties have struggled. And perhaps it’s that the DoE is an immovable behemoth that simply needs to be dismantled, regardless of which party is in power.

      • TO DeOnion:
        The current screw-up lays solidly at the stony feet of OBA.

        • Come Correct says:

          Because your deluded self says it does? Prove it. I don’t expect a reply.

  5. sandgrownan says:

    Education is a poisoned chalice for any politician or any stripes. Which is stupid given how utterly critical it is for Bermuda.

    Of all of Simon’s comments, this one probably has the most merit. Looking at how the BTA has performed compared to the old Dept. of Tourism, depoliticized and accountable, an Education Authority free of political interference, with education professionals and without the embedded millstone of the current Dept of Education.

    Bear in mind, there are more civil servants than teachers, and that it costs more to educate a kid in public school than it does to do it at Warwick.

  6. puzzled says:

    Should start on Parliament Hill and let it trickle dahn………..

  7. question says:

    If only we could hire the best teachers available, regardless of where they happen to come from.

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    An Education Authority like the Tourism Authority which, after a slow start, is working very well? Oh hell NO!

    A certain cleric, his flock, union leaders & their followers, same people, the odd smoothie drinking hunger striker or two, the DOE, the MOE, every non performing teacher would all be camping out on the grounds of the HOA. Of course non of them care about the students well being. It is all about job/paycheck security.

    As beneficial as an Education Authority could be for the students it will never happen. There is a better chance of the debt being paid down just a little bit first.

  9. Not YOU, Cole. YOU have done nothing for your own.

  10. ROBERT STEWART says:

    The most obvious solution is get government out of education. It cannot do the job and it is not needed.

    Many years ago and in several countries (including USA and UK) education was a private matter, privately organised and ordinary people were better educated then than they are now.

    For the poor and disadvantaged, the current system is a failure. Their social progress is impossible under the present arrangements.