RESURRECTING DEMONS

In the 1950’s and 1960’s the sons and daughters of working-class black families attended the Berkeley Institute. They went to Berkeley because they couldn’t go to Saltus, or Bermuda High School for Girls [BHS], or Warwick Academy, or Mount Saint Agnes Academy [MSA]. They couldn’t go to these other schools because these schools didn’t accept black children – even if they were academically qualified, and even if their parents could pay the fees.

            In the 1950’s and 1960’s these sons and daughters of working-class black families, after five years at Berkeley, sat the same ‘external’ examinations as the children of Saltus, BHS, and Warwick. In the 1950’s and 1960’s these sons and daughters of black families passed these external exams. Often – most of the time – they got better results than the ‘other’ kids at Saltus, BHS, and Warwick.

            Racial integration and the 1970’s arrived. Some sons and daughters of black families began attending Saltus, BHS, Warwick Academy, and MSA. But white children did not begin turning up at Berkeley.

            In the early 1970’s the government-of-that-day closed the Bermuda Technical Institute [‘Tech’] and began to introduce the Bermuda Secondary School Certificate [BSSC]. The BSSC was intended as a replacement for the Cambridge School Certificate [CSC], set by Cambridge University; and the General Certificate of Education [GCE], set by London University.

            By the mid-1980’s, Berkeley, still a 99.98% black school was having less success at the newer GCE’s and GCSE’s which were replacing the old CSC [Cambridge] and GCE [London].

            Had the students entering Berkeley become generically and genetically less able? No. Not at all. Nor had they become less capable. But the trend in results in these external exams had turned downwards, continually downwards. Finally, in 2000, Berkeley stopped regularly entering its students for these external exams. Berkeley’s decline had reached bottom.

            During all this time, Saltus, BHS, and Warwick Academy, whose students had not become genetically superior, had continued preparing their students and entering their students for these external exams. Their students continued to pass these exams.

            By the mid-1980’s, Berkeley students were no longer entering first rate universities and were fading from the ranks of local scholarship winners. Their places were taken by students from Saltus, BHS, Warwick Academy, and MSA.

            Cedarbridge Academy has no record of past success. Berkeley Institute, in this new millennium, does not produce the quality of product that it produced for most of the old millennium. Within twelve months, further up the hill from the present Berkeley Institute, there’ll be a brand-new building which will also be named as the Berkeley Institute.

            Will this expensive new building be used to house failing policies, shelter under-performing students, and provide jobs for a teaching faculty that delivers a product that is markedly inferior to the product coming out of Saltus, BHS, Warwick Academy, and MSA? If Bermuda’s public education policies don’t change – and change fast – the ‘new’ Berkeley Institute will continue to produce an inferior product.

            White Bermudians have already abandoned Bermuda’s public education system. In the 1980’s blacks began to drift away from publicly funded secondary education.  In the 1990’s, this drift turned into a stream. If this black shift continues, it will turn into a black flood and the expensive ‘new’ Berkeley Institute will fail, and will fail in the same way, and for the same reasons, as the present Berkeley.

            It’s now blatantly and nationally obvious that in the 1970’s two wrong policies were formulated and then implemented. The first was the policy decision to do away with the Bermuda Technical Institute – the ‘Tech’. The second was the policy decision to start replacing the CSC and GCE external exams with an internal exam – the BSSC.

            Both policy errors have resulted in a degrading of the quality of public education that is delivered to those Bermudians who can only afford public education. It has also resulted in the non-delivery of adequately prepared middle level [semi-professional and para-professional] workers for our radically changed workplace.

            Both policy errors have also contributed to the now perceptible increase in certain kinds of social tensions and social pressures. These pressures show up in the increase of the massing of young men into their own separate social groups – ‘gangs’; in stronger competition for lower cost housing; and in the growing disparity between the grand lifestyles and wide choices of high-end income earners and the less grand lifestyles and fewer choices of low end service providers. 

            The full effect of these two failed educational policies is that the 55% of Bermudian students who only ever use the public education system, have a lower starting point when they leave this education system and enter Bermuda’s job market or try for tertiary education.  They start one or two steps behind. They start one or two levels below their peers who’ve gone through, or who switched to, the private education system. Having started behind or below, many never catch up or even have a fair chance of catching up.

            Statistical information as well as our everyday experiences tells us that in 2002, we were ‘under-educating’ 55% of our national Bermudian population. We were under-educating and therefore under-preparing this huge percentage of our national Bermudian population in a Bermuda that, in 2002 and 2003, is a global player in a harsh and uncaring global environment. Both ‘Tourism’ and ‘Business’ operate in an environment of global competition. Both industries need to be staffed by people able to win in a competition against millions of well-educated or better-educated people everywhere else in the world.

            Some may – many will – see this difference in the delivery of education as a narrow black/white issue. It isn’t. It’s a much broader race-neutral national issue. The reality, though, is that the overwhelming majority of the people who are being under-educated are black. Because this black majority receives a second-class education, it is in danger of being consigned to permanent or quasi-permanent second-class status. But this inferior status will be a result of their second-class education. Not their skin colour. Even though the vast majority will be black.

            Left unchanged, these failed education policies will take us backwards and will re-segregate Bermuda. But Bermuda will re-segregate on bad new education lines – not the bad old colour lines. However, it will appear as if the segregation is colour-based.[*]           But despite this verifiable reality, the parallel and consequential reality is that re-segregation will resurrect and re-energize the almost buried ‘race-hate’ demons.  Demons that all of us have worked hard at capturing, killing, and burying.  

            Dr Eva Hodgson’s book “Second Class Citizens, First Class Men” [1964], accurately described the Bermuda of the past. The book’s title – re-worded – accurately describes today’s public education situation. It’ll be ironic – damned ironic – if this book’s title just as accurately describes the Bermuda of the future. [**]    

            Given the passage of thirty years; given the clear evidence that Bermuda’s public education system is delivering an inferior product; given the need to avoid more and growing national social tensions; it’s time to admit past errors and make future changes.

            Even superpower USA had to humble itself, acknowledge its mistake, bury its 58,000 American boys, and retreat from Vietnam. Former US Secretary of Defence, Roberts S McNamara, enlightened by twenty-two years of hindsight, admitted that US involvement in Vietnam was wrong. But he did admit it.

            We Bermudians have to do so much less. All we Bermudians have to do is display some good sense and acknowledge past Bermudian mistakes. We’ve no dead to bury. Not yet, anyway!

            So when I opened Tim Hodgson’s weekend newssheet [24th  December 2002] and read that persons from the Ministry of Education were looking at the possibility of bringing back external exams for students in the public system, I thought – Hallellujah!  My people have seen the light!  Some good sense’! It’s fifteen years overdue but  it’s here now!

            By the way, our very public and frenzied ‘fussing’ over the Auditor and the angry words and the accusations and the money and the contract and the builders and the building of the ‘new’ Berkeley reminds me of Rome blazing while Emperor Nero played Bob Marley reggae on the electric guitar – or was it a Handel largo on an electric violin?…

            What concerns you? The fuss or the future? What’s important? The building or what will happen inside the building?

           

 [*] Ask yourself this question: “Has re-segregation been happening already?” But before you answer, examine the relevant data in the 1991 and 2000 Census Reports. [**] Dr Hodgson’s 1964 book was sponsored by the Amalgamated Bermuda Union of Teachers – an ironic twist.

THE REAL ISSUE

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist” is how the Brits would say it. For Jamaican’s, it’s “Hol’ yuh cool.” However it’s said, the message is the same.

            Alpha Phi Alpha took umbrage at what I’d written. What did I write?  Alpha Phi Alpha is a ‘black’ fraternity…”

They are. Alpha Phi Alpha’s history says that seven black men – “jewels” – started the fraternity.  The fraternity adopted its first constitution in December 1907.  It opened its ranks to whites and others in 1945. In 2005, their own chapters describe themselves on their own websites. In 2005, Alpha Phi Alpha is ‘black’ in the same way that the AME church – certainly an international, interracial, and Christian organization – is still a ‘black’ church. Alpha Phi Alpha is still a ‘black’ fraternity.

            Did Alpha Phi Alpha invite all six senior schools to participate? Their follow-up complaint in the Royal Gazette says that they did.  The original “Bermuda Sun” story said Alpha Phi Alpha only asked five of the six schools to participate.

            If Alpha Phi Alpha were seeking to find as many young men as they could, I’d expect them to ask all six senior schools. Whether or not they asked five or six is entirely their own business. 

            If, however, they did leave out one school – which school was it? In the same free world that Alpha Phi Alpha lives in, I’m free to wonder why? I’m free to ask. I’m free to comment. I did.

From census and education statistics, at the senior school level, counting just one age-band of Bermudian boys, there are about 250 black male students in that one age-band. About 180 black male students would be in public education and 70 in private education.

Alpha Phi Alpha’s offer may have been to every student in that age-band in Bermuda. That was excellent. Alpha Phi Alpha’s response in the Royal Gazette obscured the fact that I’d said – quite clearly – that their offer was not fully taken up. That was no fault of Alpha Phi Alpha. The fault lay elsewhere.

Bermuda’s two ‘public schools’ contain the overwhelming majority of black male students. Neither of these two publicly funded schools ensured that at least two of their 180 eligible black male students completed Alpha Phi Alpha’s challenge. Three ‘private schools’ share 70 of these male students.

The real issue – the important issue – the fundamental issue – that really bothered me was this. Why did neither of the two publicly funded public schools complete the challenge? This was the critical issue.  

It bothered me. I thought it would bother everybody else. I hoped it would bother everybody else. That’s why I pointed it out.  That this excellent opportunity wasn’t fully subscribed still bothers me.

A large part of a very real problem, shown in this little spat and spread throughout much of our Bermudian life, is a Bermudian propensity for too many of us Bermudians – certainly individually and sometimes nationally – to focus on the smallest and least important fragment of a much bigger and far wider problem.

Far too many Bermudians work themselves up into a frenzy over one or two niggling points and completely miss the big red monster blob.

Come on people: “Hol’ yuh cool!” See the real problem!

 

LITTLE THINGS

Something’s not working. It shows up again in the picky detail of an ad about Bermuda’s First Mathematics Olympiad.

            The Olympiad is a Mathematics competition set by a Canadian team. It seems that every child in Bermuda, publicly educated, privately educated, or home school educated, was eligible to enter. It appears that the age-range for participants was 10 – 17. That’s eight age cohorts.

            Bermuda has about 6,500 youngsters in that age band. Of these, roughly 35% – that’s about 2,300 – are in some kind of private or home schooling. The remainder, about 4,200 are in the public system.

            The public system has fifteen primary schools, five Middle schools, and two High schools. The private education system has the statistical equivalent of three primary schools, two middle schools, and one High school.

            Why, then, did private schools have such a huge proportion of the named ‘winners’?

            Outnumbered and outspent, why did the private schools a [40%] minority have such a huge [74%] majority of the thirty-eight named ‘winners’?

            Saltus Grammar School – ten.

            Warwick Academy – eight.

            Cedarbridge – seven.

            Somersfield Academy – four.

            Bermuda High School – two.

            Sandys Secondary Middle School – two.

            Downe House School, UK – not a Bermuda school – two.

            Bermuda Institute and another – overseas – UK school – one each.

            Clearwater Middle School – one.

            In the 15 – 17 age group, Berkeley Institute did not place at all. In the 13 – 14 age group, Dellwood Middle, Spice Valley Middle, and Whitney Institute Middle – all public schools – did not place at all.  In the 10 – 12 age group, there were no names – at all – from any of the fifteen public primary schools.  Mount St Agnes Academy, with pupils in all three age-bands, is not mentioned.

            Cedarbridge’s seven shows what can be done.

            Where are the rest? What didn’t happen?

 [By the way… the ad said:  Top 13 winners. Ages 10 -12.   But only 12 names.] 

AGAIN

There it was again. This time tucked away in the middle of an excellent story [Bermuda Sun – 08 Jun – p7]. Topping the story was a big picture of three fine young men. Each dressed in a tuxedo. Each with a confident look on his face. Each was black.

            But you’d expect that. After all, they were the winners in a scholarship scheme run by Alpha Phi Alpha. Alpha Phi Alpha is a ‘black’ fraternity born out of the black American experience. So I would have been surprised – pleasantly surprised – if all or even one of the young men had been white. After all, in an era of racial equality, that would have been perfectly correct and entirely fair.

            But they were young black men who had just been awarded scholarships. The scholarships were awarded not because they were exceptionally bright academics [often referred to as ‘nerds’], nor were the awards coming because they were impoverished students from poor families.

            The awards were for academic worth combined with clear evidence of personal striving in non-academic pursuits. Between them, the three young men received a total of $10,000 towards their further education.

            The story underneath the picture was filled with hundred of words telling how the young men had performed as musicians, mentors for younger students, Candy Stripers, and sportsmen.

            Hidden amongst those fine words were some nasty little facts.

            “This year’s scholarships…started six months ago when organizers asked five secondary schools to each nominate a star pupil.”

            That was the first fact. 

            “Only three students completed the program…”

            The second.

            “Mr Williams, who attends Warwick Academy…..Mr Woods… who attends Saltus Grammar School….  Mr Manders…who graduates from the Bermuda Institute”.

            The third, damning, fact.

            There are only three other secondary schools. Mount St Agnes Academy. The Berkeley Institute. Cedarbridge Academy. At least two of these must have been “asked…to nominate a …pupil.” One of these three was not asked.

            Three questions. First. Why were Alpha Phi Alpha so selective? Second. Why didn’t all the schools who were asked to participate ensure that their students completed the process?  

            Third. Is it right, in 2005, even given Bermuda’s bad racial past, to exclude young men of another race from competing? Is Bermuda’s current racial balance so badly askew that exceptional racial ‘tipping’ is still so necessary, so easily permissible, and seemingly so acceptable?

            There’s another issue. This time with the public education system. Why was there no participation – I stress participation – by young men from the public educating system? Why? What’s not working?

            If Cedarbridge can garner seven good results in the open competition of the Maths Olympiad, why couldn’t they get just one young man to at least stay the course in this local Alpha Phi Alpha process?

            Could it be that the Principals and faculties at Cedarbridge and Berkeley don’t want to identify young men as ‘star pupils’. Maybe they want to bring all their young men along at exactly the same level and pace. If that is what they are trying to do, they are trying to do exactly the opposite of what nature always does.

            Across humankind, there are always differences in people. Some people are brighter – others not so bright. Some work hard – some not so hard.  Some can run fast – some can’t. Differences in human ability and capability always exist. These differences are ineradicable and are a key part of the reality of humankind in all its sameness and all its diversity.

            The purpose of education is to give each individual all the tools that he [she] can use in order to allow herself [himself] to develop to his [her] maximum. Each individual must be her [his] own ‘star’.

            That neither Berkeley nor Cedarbridge had one young man complete Alpha Phi Alpha’s process is sad and wrong. It is also unfair to each one of the hundreds of young men in those two institutions.

            Under-prepared, under-educated, testosterone-filled young men who pass out of the public system are simply ticking time bombs. The ticking time bombs already released into this community as under-prepared, under-educated, testosterone-filled young men who can not readily fit into Bermuda’s complex society, are now blowing up all around this community.

            Like the ticking or explosion of a time bomb, the situation and result inadvertently shown in this story should concentrate our national attention. 

WAITING TO EXHALE

The school year is ending. Exams are over. Teachers – waiting to exhale – are about to give out a huge sigh. Students are looking forward to summer activities. I’m waiting for results.

            What did this year’s graduating crop of students achieve? How successful were the teachers in imparting knowledge? How did students absorb that knowledge?

            By October of this year, I’ll know what Mount St Agnes has done. I’ll be told what Saltus and BHS and Warwick Academy have done. Bermuda Institute will have published its results.

            Will the two senior public schools do anything other than put lots of pictures of students in the paper and say that they’ve ‘graduated’? Will these two schools publish exam results so that we can see what happened, and make comparisons?

            It’s said that education is not a competition. That test results don’t tell the whole story. That the public schools don’t get a ‘good’ selection of students. The litany goes on and on…

            Reality? Once a young Bermudian male or female puts on that gown and mortarboard, walks across the stage, accepts a senior school certificate, then walks on past the VIP who handed them that certificate; that now ex-student walks right into a cruelly competitive world.

            The instant that student passes that VIP, and becomes an ex-student, he or she goes into direct competition with eighteen year-olds from India – the Philippines –  the Caribbean – North and South America – the EU. In fact, every country in the world.

            Bermuda now has a global workforce. Canadians infuse Bermuda’s construction industry. Indians and South Americans are embedded in Bermuda’s hospitality industry. People from the EU and North America flood Bermuda’s ‘international business’.

            Six thousand workers at the Rover Cars plant in Longridge, Birmingham, UK lost their jobs because Rover Cars stopped making cars.  Over in Japan, Japanese workers still have jobs making Toyota cars.

            Mighty General Motors, the US car manufacturing giant, lost a billion dollars last quarter. In order to increase sales of their cars, GM now offers an ‘employee discount’ to every potential customer. Meanwhile, over in Japan and all over the rest of the world,  Japanese made Toyota cars are still selling like hotcakes.

            Look at the ‘made in’ labels in your Liz Claibornes or Pulitzers. Check your cellphone and see where that was made. Once, the only wines were ‘French’ or ‘Italian’. Today?  French and Italian wines fight for shelf space with wines from Australia, Chile, Hungary, and a score more of new wine-growing countries.

            Reality? Everybody is in an open competition with everybody else.

            The other reality – especially for us Bermudians – is that no matter how much prattle there is about the need to defend and protect the students in the public school system; all those efforts evaporate the instant that student passes that VIP. At that precise moment, that public school ex-student goes into a head-to-head, toe-to-toe, knock-‘em down, drag-‘em out competition with the students of Saltus, BHS, Warwick Academy, MSA, Bermuda Institute.

            When ex-students turn up in personnel offices looking for work, or when they seek admission to colleges, they all compete on exactly the same harsh terms. No more protections. No more soft landings. Just cold uncaring reality.

            The school year is ending. Exams are over. Ex-students are entering this hard knocks world.

            We all know the public schools have not been doing as well as the private schools. The job-hiring market reflects this. Look around, see it. Listen, hear it.

             The real results that the two public schools do achieve – whatever they are – must be published. Not publishing them is dishonest and does not conceal the reality that the job-hiring, scholarship awarding, and college admitting processes do ultimately and so blatantly display.

            Publishing today – or in the next two months will publicly and definitively deliver a temporary unpleasant reality. But the job-hiring, scholarship awarding, and college admitting processes have been delivering longer-lasting realities – every year – for over twenty-five years.

            Publishing concentrates essential information in an easy to see format. This enables everybody to see the problem.  This enables and encourages everybody to push towards real solutions.

            Not publishing maintains a national dishonesty and stupidity.  It’s like telling Rover Car workers to keep coming to work making their Rover cars even though no one is buying their cars and – ultimately – no one will be able to pay them for their work.

            Publish and compare the Terra Nova results! Publish and compare the BSC results!  Or damn us all, one more time, by throwing away one more precious year!

Fifty Three…

Next week, ferries, cars and pink buses will fill with school children. Some starting their first year – Primary One – P1. Others, their thirteenth year – Senior Four – S4.

            About 1,200 students will be sequestered in the two public senior schools. These two schools run four-year programs, so there will be about 300 students in each year-group. Thus, in June of 2006, Bermuda should expect to have almost 300 youngsters graduating from S4. 

            We’ve finally been told – though the evidence always pointed to it – that public senior schools graduated only 53% of their students. We’ve not been told that 2005 was an ‘annus horribilis’. Intimations were that 2005 was a normal year.

            So, next year, in June 2006, after thirteen years in the system, do we expect to see only 159 [53%] of Senior Four’s 300 students graduate? What about the 141 [47%] who won’t graduate?

            Are these 141 youngsters just so much social chaff and human waste to be written off the 2006 educational balance sheet? Or, are these 141 genetically inferior?

            Consider these situations.

            Bank of Bermuda HSBC reports a return on investments of 53%. Good!

            A savings bank offers to pay 53% interest on savings accounts. Good!

            Order $20 ‘gas’. The attendant pumps in $10.60 [53%] and demands $20 payment. Good?

            Pay for a case of beer and receive only 53% [13 bottles] Good?

            Depending on the situation, fifty-three percent can be good or bad.

            In education, 53% is bad. Bermuda’s 53% system is a failing system. Bermuda’s educating system competes with educating systems that routinely graduate 80% to 90% of their intakes. No amount of anguished expressions or sympathetic reasons can change this failure reality.

            Bermuda is a sophisticated socio-economic setting that now places a premium on intellectual skills. Like all other advanced economies, Bermuda has experienced a decline in the need for low skill manual labour.  In this socio-economic setting, Bermuda’s public educating system is producing a surfeit of people [47%] who are only capable of low skill manual labour. Bermuda’s public system is actually increasing the pool of under-educated young people who are unable to find a place in Bermuda’s existing economic structure.

            There are two obvious outcomes. Under-educated Bermudians, unable to perform in Bermuda’s existing and future socio-economic environment, could be shipped overseas to be expats in countries where their physical labour will be welcomed. In so doing, they will be the same as the high-school graduates from Goa and Barbados and the UK who are shipped into Bermuda to provide the skills that our 47% do not – and cannot – provide.

            It’ll be a balancing exchange. Trained foreign workers fly into Bermuda.  Bermuda then compensates and balances by shipping out under-educated Bermudians to other countries, there to be employed as unskilled labour.

            If we do not export Bermudians, we will warehouse them at Westgate – which is already filled to capacity. Either way, we’ll deal with that 47%. We’ll do one – or the other. Warehouse or ship out. The only two outcomes.

            Fix? Put in place – now! – programs that actually deal with the oft-complained about under-fed, badly-fed, under-cared for, un-cared for, ill-disciplined, un-disciplined, badly-parented, un-parented, fathered, un-fathered, students.

            There’s limited value in insisting that parents of students change their parenting methods and styles. A twenty or thirty year old ‘baby mama’ is least amenable to any change requested by any outside agencies.  Same for ‘baby daddy’s’. 

            A five to ten year-old youngster is the entity most easily changed by the action of outside agencies. By age fifteen, any opportunity for real change may have been lost. It certainly has reduced.

            Act now.  Change the system. Demand, plan for, and work for better results now. Next year, in June 2006, 53% or 55% or 60% just won’t do. Bermuda is in cut-throat global competition. Bermuda must drag itself up to existing global standards.

            Altering the BSSC and changing the BSC ‘pass mark’ hasn’t worked. It won’t work. It can’t work. In order to compete, 80% to 90% of Bermuda’s public school students must become at least as numerate and as literate as Bermuda’s real competition.

            The real competition for Bermuda’s public education system? It’s not Bermuda’s ‘private schools’.  Bermuda’s private schools are merely on-island institutions whose performance is most readily visible.

            The real competition is with all those public education systems in Goa and Barbados and UK and Canada and…  It is the graduates from these systems who are steadily shipping – or being shipped – into Bermuda.  These are the people filling that 47% void.

 

TERRORISTS IN EDUCATION

That huge full-page ad uncovered a huge lie. An accounting lie as big as the lies eventually uncovered in the Enron accounting scandal.

            That full page showed conclusively that Terry Lister – Minister for Education – has a cross on his back and an anchor and chain around his neck. The cross is fashioned out of the deliberate obfuscations by the teaching professionals in Bermuda’s.

            The cross’s central spine is created from the fact that in 2000, Bermuda’s teaching professionals Terra Nova tested ALL the students in their care. Then, in 2001, 2002, 2003 they decided not to test a proportion of the students in their care. By eliminating lower performing students from the Test, they apparently improved Test scores. Eventually, this removing process saw them ‘remove’ as much as 24% [that’s one out of every four] of the students in their care, and NOT submit them to the Terra Nova Test.

            That was dishonest. The test results were unreal. In 2005, mostly all students were again submitted to the Terra Nova test, and test scores reflected reality. The first part of that full page ad explained that in words. The first chart showed it graphically.

            I have often commented that our public system under-educates. That full-page ad showed that my criticism was absolutely correct.  Even more, the other charts showed that the public system actually DE-EDUCATES.

            A student group, the same student group, who test at one level in P5 are shown to be testing at a lower level, five years later, when they reach S1. This kind of result is consistent for all students progressing (?) from Primary to Senior levels.

            That’s not educating. That’s not learning. That’s de-educating. That’s de-learning. Again, it’s all shown graphically.

            Bermudian students – staying and living in their own Bermuda – have to compete with students from the public educating systems of Goa, Barbados, Trinidad, UK, USA, Canada,…. In this competition, Bermuda students compete for Bermudian jobs and – as we all continually scream – also compete for Bermudian housing space.

            A big chunk of Bermuda’s housing ‘crunch’ is driven by the vicious squash in and high demand for, lower end rental units. This housing squash is driven by employment consequences that result in under-educated Bermudians who are unable to fill skilled and semi-skilled jobs; and their being supplanted by high-school graduates from Goa, Barbados, Trinidad, UK, USA, Canada,….

            So, already feeling the impact of years of under-education; we’ve just been shown – in that full page ad – that we’re actually de-educating. Actually REMOVING knowledge that was once put in. Now that takes some doing! That takes a really special skill!

            These are the facts that have been displayed. That whole ad showed how vitally important it is to PUBLISH and DISPLAY results. Now we know what facts apply to Bermuda’s public educating system. These are the facts:

            ONE – Bermuda children are under-performing and are well behind their US counterparts.

            TWO – The performance of Bermuda’s students actually declines between P5 and S3.

            THREE – Between 2001 and 2003, Bermuda’s teaching professionals collaborated to produce false and misleading results.

            FOUR – Bermuda’s public educating system is in a VERY bad state and it has deep social and wide economic consequences.

            Minister Lister, bowed down by his cross, dragging around his anchor and chain, ought not seek any friends amongst Bermuda’s educating establishment.  He ought to consider them as educational ‘terrorists’ and go to war against them. As terrorists, and well-hidden from our view, these educational terrorists, making full use of their BA’s and MA’s have waged a hitherto successful campaign using obfuscation and subterfuge. That ad exposed them.

            Now, having unleashed his weapons of public knowledge and public information, the Minister should at last begin to garner some public support for a determined offensive to stop the process of de-educating, re-start the process of educating, and raise the performance levels of both students and teachers.

            If teacher standards cannot rise, then get rid of under-performing teachers. Bermuda’s public educating system must ultimately work for the benefit of Bermuda’s students – not the teachers. Right now Bermuda’s system is only benefiting Bermuda’s teachers.

            That’s wrong! That’s dishonest! It’s nationally disastrous! It’s stupid!