Bermuda Union Of Teachers: ‘Deeply Frustrated’

March 15, 2019

The Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] said they “are not opposed” to Standards-Based Education/Grading but are “deeply frustrated by how poorly it has been implemented.”

A spokesperson said, “We, as a body of professional educators, are not opposed to Standards-Based Education/Grading [SBG] and feel that it has the potential to be a very positive way forward for the Bermuda Public School System. We are, however, left deeply frustrated by how poorly it has been implemented.

“Since it was first introduced in 2015, we have received very little training and were left completely unprepared for its supposed hard launch in September of 2018.

“This failing was finally acknowledged in a direct address by the Department of Education through the Commissioner in January of this year. The Department admitted there had been “insufficient support, training and communication.”

“Despite this, we have still been required to enter grades into an inadequate and problematic online grading system known as Power School which has not been properly formatted to address our system needs and loosely reflects an SBG format.

“Systemwide training for use in this program has never officially taken place, with training instead occurring at the individual school level based on the initiative of principals. This has left teachers across the system with various levels of competence in the use of the program.

“This is compounded by the fact that, even though it goes against best practices, we as a body of professionals are being required to convert all grades into a 0-4 scale resembling the grades that will eventually be used when SBG is fully implemented. In short, it is our belief that these grades are ‘fake’ SBG and will cause confusion about student performance.

“We as education professionals feel that our lack of training in the correct use of Power School and this flawed conversion chart make a mockery of SBG and diminish the integrity of the grading process, which will only serve to confuse parents and agitate teachers.

“Due to the threat of disciplinary action, we have entered these grades under duress. We feel it is our duty to inform the public about these matters.

“We want to make it clear that as education professionals we consider it our duty to educate children, to assess their learning on what has been taught, and to report this learning to parents with clarity, confidence and integrity. We feel that the way we are currently being forced to grade greatly inhibits our ability to accomplish this mandate.”

We asked the Government for comment and will update as able.

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Comments (34)

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  1. Question says:

    They cannot get one single thing right can they.

    • To Question:
      OBA did absolutely NOTHING to get anything right n education for public schools.
      Grant Gibbons proved that clearly when HE was Minister of Education for a brief moment, then FLED to help OBA with the ridiculous America Cup..nonsense!!Grant got education all wrong!!
      No brilliance for Bermuda’s youth there!!

      • The real Terry says:

        STRAIGHTFORWARD On your Best Day you would not have one iota of Grant Gibbons’ intelligence. Please tell us what you ever achieved

      • Question says:

        We’ve had a string of disasters this week and you morons can’t see it.

        As for education, the PLP want to close down schools and set up music, acting and sports facilities so that education becomes an even bigger disaster than it is now.

        The one thing they could do, they can’t, because of unions. That’s hire the best teachers in the world.
        Will never happen here because the union’s priority is not the welfare of the students.

      • Mike Hind says:

        Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong?

  2. puzzled says:

    Oh foohy……….
    Get your BUT in gear you wasters….

  3. Trump supporter says:

    Where’s the marchers?

  4. 2 Bermudas says:

    Bermudians have got to be the biggest suckers in the world. We are being ripped off in our education system, healthcare system, transportation system, trash collection system and on and on!! Keep voting Pee El Pee!! Hahahaha!!

    • Honestly says:

      Guess who will never vote Ohhh Bee a!!!

    • Madge says:

      2 Bermudas,I think now that we have seen what the current so called GOV, is all about and we now know it is what benifts their agenda,(family and friends )to think a talk show host is allowed to get paid as a consultant !!!!!!!!!!!!!! come on people wake the hell up.

  5. Sister Nancy says:

    Thanks PLP our kids have almost done a full school year without one report card. Do you honestly this has ever happened anyway else in the world. Truly a sad situation. Where are the experts that we pay hundreds of thousands a year to? Why are we even paying them with this disaster.i wonder how many marches and sick outs would we have had if OBA was the government? These are the same people that are going to run the Corporations. Wake up people they are going to screw this island to pieces.

    • Honestly says:

      From my understating, teachers have had 3 days of training on Learning Intentions and Success Criteria! In addition, there are major technical concerns preventing some grades to be submitted.

  6. Wicket Keeper says:

    BUT…..Your frustrated. How do you think parents, M.O.E, students, Government and opposition MPs feel!!!!

    Its not that complicated of a system!!! Everyone elae can figure this out.

    B.U.T and Teachers. Recognize this as reality. We the parents, tge public and govermment and future employers have a huge concern if the teachers along with their union are not smart enough to figure this out. Especially since you have been entrusted with educating our youth.

    If you cant figure out how A STANDARDS BASED GRADING sysrem wirks, mayne you arr not fit enough to teach!!!! Its not rocket science. Its not that they cant but rather hey wont!

    All you fn marchers that folleed like sheep where are you now?. Why are you not marching for your children and their future? AEE THE conceened Bermudians no longer concerned?

  7. Curious says:

    Teachers aren’t stupid. Why don’t we sit down with them and figure out what works best for them in terms of grading?

    • Onion Peels says:

      Really? Shouldn’t we be working on what’s best for the STUDENTS? If we worked on what’s best for the teachers we’d end up with another bus system.

  8. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Since it was first introduced in 2015 …”

    Seriously? You’ve had more than 3 years to figure things out and you still can’t? And you want to teach my grandchildren?

    Your sentence about “duress” is repeated. Whitney Institute used to teach students not to do that

  9. Maddog says:

    Teachers you need to do your job

  10. HELLO says:

    It was reported that training sessions did take place, and additional training at each school if requested. So its this true or false? In addition it was reported that within each school there is a teacher was is trained and can assist and teach other teachers. True or False? If this is the case seems to just sound like teachers are not willing to use the system.

    Power School is often not used by schools as they should use it, at my child’s school they fail to use it on a regular basis. Why not teachers?

    Technology is changing, and the reality we must move with the change. Most schools use some form of technology to record almost everything they do with children, Bermuda is way behind the ball. Lets do it for the children.

    I am struggling with the fact that since 2015, teachers/Unions know this was coming and made no effort to ensure their teachers are trained up! Unions have just as much responsibility to ensure professional development of teachers and moving them forward, rather than just shout out we have not got this or that!

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Ahh, but reported by who, Hello? Was it reported by someone you can trust?

  11. Solution base says:

    BUT you have complained in everyway but not once have you provided a solution to the parents or the public. You have written a press release but no suggested solutions given. This is not good as teachers of our kids and future. You are eroding the public confidence in your system which will lead to reducation in enrollment which can lead to possible reduction in teachers in the future as many folks will put their kids in private schools.

    State you case that you don’t agree but get the grades done as parents need to know how are kids are doing. You are stating the grades are fake!!!! Have they been real all of this time? Just to think the private schools use SBG…

  12. Rotten Onion says:

    Welcone to the club BUT, alot of people are frustrated with this government.

    • Fair Bermuda says:

      No the people are not frustrated with the government. But Bermudians just do not like change or learning something new. Look at the Taxi Drivers, same mentality as teachers, do not want to advance their way of operating with modern technology. So instead of adjusting to change, they sit bac and kick their feet. Come on we must all learn new things.

      SBG IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, THE LEVEL of Education a teacher should have it bogs the mind why they are unable to move forward. The union is no help in progressing teachers forward. This statement by the Union is weak.

  13. sandgrownan says:

    Fire the entire Dept. of Education and start fresh. I mean, how much worse could it be?

    • Sister Nancy says:

      You are 100% correct fire the whole bunch of them. Curtis Dickinson could not get it right either when he was on the Board of Education. SMH pathetic.

  14. Those Who Can Do says:

    If the teachers cannot learn, or cannot be taught something as simple as this grading system, well, there you have it. Fire them all.

  15. Awww says:

    Cmon teachers!! Surely this is not complex and beyond your capabilities or is it and we need qualified teachers?!? Sounds like you lot don’t want to work! When I was in school I had a form teacher that handled everything from managing the class to math to history and he seemed to get it all done and handwritten report cards!!

  16. J J says:

    B.U.T , much of what you say might be true. This issue of the grading system is just a side show to the real issue.

    Your organisation is part of the issue of low educational attainment on our island. The shocking tolerance of low standards means that you have lost your moral authority to portray yourselves as the guardians and promoters of education.

    Having been involved in school leadership for over 20 years, I can safely say that I have rarely seen such an organisation so comfortable with such poor teaching outcomes.

    If you care about the children and parents of our wonderful island, you would start to use your fees to run lots of free CPD events to assist members to become more ambitious and achieve better outcomes in the classes that they have responsibility for.

    • Tania Stafford says:

      JJ I support your comments and agree entirely and I too have worked at a senior level in school administration.

      • Better Teaching NOW says:

        So true, the Union has not done much to ensure high quality teaching outcomes from their teachers. Instead they focus is on allowing teachers not to perform at higher level, and never once put anything in place to ensure high quality teaching. This goes back to the Hopkins Report.

        The Union often Blocks the Department of Education from putting into place plans to improve teaching. As soon as teachers cry out, NO, the Union fails to check to see if this will benefit better teaching, and the students. Charles needs to grow up in his statements and move in a direction that helps teachers.

  17. Joe Bloggs says:

    How dare you! Paying to keep teachers’ training and skills up to date is not the responsibility of the BUT or even the teachers! It is the job of Government!

    The BUT needs it’s money to fund attendance at sporting events in the Caribbean.

  18. Paul says:

    Can anyone tell me at least one or more good things that the P.l.p. have done for the voters ?
    The average Bermudians are getting fed up with the leadership ….can you imagine what the International Business must be thinking…..

  19. Vida Smith says:

    Just take politics