Accountability will lead to raised education standards

| 05/10/2015 | 52 Comments
Cayman News Service

Education Minister Tara Rivers

(CNS): There was not much praise for teachers and the work they do from the minister Monday in her message marking World Teachers’ Day. Just weeks after the publication of damning reports from school inspections and consultants, which concluded that the standard of education in the Cayman Islands was poor, Tara Rivers acknowledged that the problems lie with the system, the department and the ministry as much as with schools. However, she said more accountability would lead to improvements.

“The overarching goal of the work to be done this academic year will be on raising standards of education through increased accountability,” she said, as she pointed to the need for a “relentless and unequivocal approach” to raising standards and increasing accountability at all levels.

Teachers blamed for achievement gap

She told teachers that through targeted professional development opportunities and other support, the ministry was committed to helping to empower them to be the most effective educators possible.

Following the release of the reports on all Cayman’s government schools, teachers have taken the brunt of the blame, despite admissions that the administrative and governance side of education management has also been wanting.

Some teachers to get pay rise this year

The reports found that there were significant numbers of students with special needs or behavioural issues, something the education department has been wrestling with for many years, and the ministry has committed to increasing the resources to help with additional support for those students.

According to the recently published  overview of the proposed ‘Plan of Action’, the goal is to improve the quality of teaching in Cayman through the provision of effective support for existing staff in the form of mentoring, coaching and training.

Message by Minister of Education on World Teachers’ Day, 5 Oct 2015

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let’s face facts, many parents fail their children long before they ever see a classroom. Yes, the parents have ruined the educational process. The first and most important lessons are learned from ones parents. If a child sees his/her parents behaving in rude, disrespectful ways towards other people they will to.

    I already know that you do not want to hear it but the men of these islands have relinquished their roles a positive role models for their children. No father should ever be heard telling his child publicly that he “will not read to them, ask Mommie when we get home”. This is an opportunity to create a moment with your child, discuss the themes of material whether it is about friendship, sharing, honesty, etc.. It is an opportunity for you as a parent to bond and share while you have their attention. This is your chance to develop a meaningful relationship before they become disinterested teens.

    If a parent does nothing of educational value with a child, the child will continue to fall behind with each day. Add to this the parents who believe in the various electronic babysitters available in the form of video game consoles, tablets, smartphones and the like. I currently deal with young people who come to me seeking counsel and advice on matters they should be discussing at home with their parents if they themselves cannot identify a solid solution. I am not a teacher or school counselor but your teenage children are coming to me which I find horrifying because they are unable to rely on you. It is also horrifying because I will soon have to cut them off because I have my own children to parent and no matter how willing I may be to help someone in need there comes a time when enough is enough. They do not come from poor homes. They come from homes when parents believe they are doing the right thing be buying them everything they do and don’t ask for to make up for their parental disinterest.

    Make an effort to be a real part of your child’s life, teach them something meaningful. No, how to roll a joint is not meaningful. Read with your child, I do not care if it is a text book or a football guide. If you do not read well, you will need to practice or take the approach of using it as a way to show your child how to deal with a personal limitation.

    Please parents do something for your children other than just buying them things. Otherwise they will be well dressed, poor educated people who have everything materially they could desire…unless that is your goal.

    I know you do not want to hear it but Cayman is failing its children and that is an unforgivable act of abuse and ignorance.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just passed government building and there were signs saying something like “what would your civil service be like”. Well it goes something like this

    People at the top actually know what they are talking about
    Nepotism is confined to the bin
    Employees are held accountable even when they have connections
    Civil service employees are stopped from running their own business while in the employ of government
    All government employees and politicians should sign a public register of interests
    Bullying is actually taken seriously
    HR practices are more robust and transparent
    Have a monotorium on all external reports for twelve months
    Reports when commissioned are acted upon
    Senior managers walk the talk
    Stop promoting people who are clearly not up to the job

    Now I know for sure that not one of these things will happen because thwre is too much self interest going on.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It makes me weep to realize the hope and dreams of a new dawn have been wasted by the likes of Rivers, the lovely Winston and Suckoo not to mention the layer below them. There is now no one at the top who actually knows anything about education.Oh I know we do have an Acting Chief Education Officer but being Head of a failing school not not inspire confidence. I feel yet another report will be done shortly.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A long tiring day in the classroom! Before i prepare for tomorrow thought I would read on line news and came across this heap of s**t. I am so despondent. How much more do we teachers have to take from this lawyer? Imagine working in a completely new field and never thinking you needed to talk to those who could actually help to make a difference. Depressed does not even begin to describe how I am feeling.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Tara wanna tell the people about the attempting stabbing of a young girl in one of the so called government schools. A boy approaches the girl and pulls out a pocket knife, teacher doesn’t know what to do so she calls the office, thank god another student across the class sees what is happening and is able to take the knife away from the other student. Has this been posted??? NOPE…kept very very quiet.

  5. Calvin Christian says:

    Are these teachers certifide , qualifide, and have a passion to teach or do we just hire any one says they been teaching for years ? and is just there for a pay check. We live in a different world. We need to adjust to the need of the new generation. Parents need to get involve with there children education if they want them to be prepair to enter the work force as an adult. On the other hand if the parent do not care , then there no teacher on earth that can educate a child.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please research and you will find out the requirements for Teachers to work in the Public School System in the Cayman islands. Clearly not all Teachers will have a passion for teaching and that not automatically disqualify them from being good or great teachers. I would like to see the stats on parents who are capable to adequately assist their children with homework consdiering the new IB Curriculum that is currently being used and will be rolled out to all Primary Schools. A child’s education is clearly dependent on parental assistance/guidance coupled with good teaching and the rest of the community.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not to mention good great leadership of which we have a derth. The parents send the best they have, our job as educators is to somehow, despite the odds, make up for the deficit in parenting. A big problem is that at the yop you have piss poor leadership who have no idea how to turn things around. It certainly will not be done by demoralising educators.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Accountability ba ha ha ha ba ha ha ha what a joke…non of these government entities show accountability. I know this has nothing to do with the eduction department but the word accountability can be brought up, i.e., CCTV, now drones, fairbanks, police station…do i need to say more???

  7. Anonymous says:

    I must admit to being really confused by this woman. She attacks the teachers when results have year on year improved significantly. What does she think she is doing?

    • Anonymous says:

      She needs to attach the teachers because her and her C4C friends want ALL schools in Cayman to be private. Somehow that will magically makes things better.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Tara is running around trying to ensure she gets reelected so she has to change something….anything….so she can claim any success for herself. Well she has been very successful at commissioning reports, she has made the majority of teachers feel worthless, she has alienated the whole educational establishment in fact. There are a few simple steps she could take but will not namely merge the department and ministry of education, only hire high calibre teachers and like a poster said weed out the failing teachers and heads. These alone would go a long way to improving standards

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree but you also need intensive support to be given to parents on how to parent, how to stimulate a child bla bla bla. I suggest getting in at the pregnancy stage. It is already too late when the child starts school.

  9. Cass says:

    Ask the minister why the education curriculum was changed a few years ago; ask her if this change has been beneficial to the students. One only needs to look around at the various public schools and see it is a huge failure! But, was that the “plan”? Set them all up for failure, only a few will come out on top….I don’t know, but at this point we need to ask the right questions. Teachers are mandated to teach the curriculum assigned and timetables that the Ministry issues for each year group etc. Teachers are not to be blamed, rather parents are a HUGE issue as well as the lack of support from the Ministry and Department of Education for teachers and staff. I guarantee that if you send in a passionate, caring, educator into any of these public schools, especially the high schools, they will leave BROKEN in a few short years (tired, drained, unappreciated, haggard etc.). Teachers are human beings not robots without feelings. We can’t demand respect from these teachers while having a blatant disrespect for their thankless jobs! I don’t think we should ever have a Minister of Education that has NEVER spent any time as a teacher in a classroom in these public schools. Experience is vital; walk the walk don’t just talk the talk.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh cry me some rivers. Spouting the same old retohric blaming the teachers is not the answer. Ever thought of the novel concept that education starts in the home with basics like moral guidance, discipline and respect. Any prospective student without these attributes essentially needs an animal handler not a teacher.
    The underlying problem is a social one and not primarily a teacher one. The education system assumes that kids are getting these basics taught at home when most don’t really have a functional one. Here’s a suggestion in big words like you’re accustomed to; engage the primary root cause and provide critical social intervention programs to facilitate effective uptake and learning in the classroom. Got that? I didn’t think so.

  11. Sore-Bot says:

    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

  12. Anonymous says:

    And there is even less praise from a Minister who is presiding over a demoralized workforce in the classroom, in the Ministry and in the Department of Education. How C4C can continue to remain silent on her disasterous tenure is anyones guess.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s not Tara guys, c’mon. We need principals with excellent leadership skills, that’s all. Got any?

  14. Anonymous says:

    If standards are raised once again this year, it will have nothing to do with any initiative she has brought in, it will be down to the sheer hard work of teachers who are trying to improve their classroom practice and the quality of the professional development they receive.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Your accountability has everyone running around like headless chickens ticking boxes. So tell me how does that impact on the quality of teaching in the classroom Minister?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Just when you think morale could not get any lower, she opens her mouth. The staff room in the morning will be as quiet as a graveyard.

  17. Anonymous says:

    If the teachers are so bad why did you give then a pay rise? Just axing if accountability does not apply here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Only some teachers were entitled to a raise, maybe her brother a long serving teacher might be able to benefit

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, one day there may be a generation of children who know how to spell and pronounce “asking”.

    • Anonymous says:

      How is that axe? Who was your English teacher? If they got the rise because of the way you spell, we are in big trouble.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I just knew this woman would make another vacuous statement on the day that is in it and completely ruin my Monday! I wish I could get another job since apparently, despite my results, I am a crap teacher, doing a crap job on behalf of a crap Minister of

    • Anonymous says:

      Well at least you know what she says. When that woman prattles on and on I fall into a coma.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This woman has no standing with teachers. She knows jack shit about education, spouts about accountability when she herself is one of the most unaccountable ministers of education we have ever had, throws accusations around when people cannot defend themselves, ignores her own experts in favour of inspectors who know as little about
    Cayman education as she does. Here is a start if you really want to put children first:

    Sack failing heads
    Sack failing teachers regardless of nationality
    Try getting a vision and sticking with it
    Only hire high calibre teachers and pay them well
    Stop promoting failing heads into the Ministry and Department of education
    Stop using education as a dumping for any Caymanian who wants a job

  20. Anonymous says:

    Oh gosh she’s back….

  21. Anonymous says:

    Tara, do us all a big favor. Don’t say anything more until after the next election. You just continue to embarrass yourself ever time you do! #wastedvote.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Politicians ought not to meddle with any school’s administration – at best they should show some discretion in the degree to which they interfere. As citizens, we need to realise that ministers of government and councillors are no better suited to run schools, than they are to run construction sites or conduct a surgical procedure. The Principals will fail if the Board is failing to provide the Principal with right management tools and support to effectively execute their jobs. Obviously this has a trickle down effect.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The problem is when there is a useless teacher rather than Education Department firing the teacher the department simply shuffles that teacher around. The result of that other teachers are demoralized and students damaged. When there is something wrong rather than try to conceal the issue it needs to be dealt with.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Please resign now Tara

  25. SSM345 says:

    I wish I was paid KYD$10K+ per month for lip service, the only thing this woman seems to be capable of.
    Accountability is a word all our MLA’s need to stop using, as none of them are accountable to anyone for their actions or inaction, nor are their departments, blah blah blah, same sh*t different day.
    In our next elections, I suggest we do a screening on everyone who puts their name in the hat just to make sure they possess “testicular fortitude”, without it, you cannot be voted in.

    • Anonymous says:

      Come come dear Chap, in these days of no discrimination one must use the term “sexual organ” fortitude or at least get a reference to “ovarian fortitude” in the same sentence as a mention of testicles.

  26. Anonymous says:

    When will she realize she is part of the problem, not the solution?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Morale at an all time low!

  28. Anonymous says:

    We have heard about “increased accountability” within the Civil Service since the beginning of time. Nothing has ever happened and nothing ever will

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are a foreigner on a fixed term contract, there is accountability because if your performance is poor, your contract is not renewed. But Caymanians are employed for life. They should be on fixed term contracts too. If they were, their performance would be much better.

      • Anonymous says:

        1:20pm, If Caymanians or Govt. employees were on fixed term contracts / performance based contracts, unemployment would skyrocket.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t think that’s the kind of accountability she’s talking about. According to the Pirate code she is intitled to take all she can and give nothing back but the teachers are not pirates so they must be held accountable. Ten lashes or walking the plank. Something like that is coming.

      • Anonymous says:

        I see your logic but unfortunately it is flawed. The threat of non renewal of a contract will not make you a good teacher. What will is good quality training, and of course sustained professional development, good leadership and collaborative working.

        • Anonymous says:

          Good leadership will not be had from this minister of Education. I would not attempt to meddle in education if I knew nothing about it, but knowing nothing does not prevent Rivers from commissioning yet more reports from people who know nothing and told us what we already know. Our schools need improving.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have never ever heard of any contracted worker being fired, well except one 25 years ago, all employees of CIG stay forever unless they decide to leave

        • Anonymous says:

          To sack Teachers in a system that needs improvements in all areas is not the solution. You will be just spinning tyres and going no where.

        • Anonymous says:

          Total rubbish, 8:58. Contracted officers do not have to be “fired” or “terminated” for poor performance. All you have to do is let their contracts run out and not renew them and this has happened plenty, plenty times in the last 30 years. It’s not firing, it’s much easier than that, it’s just letting their contracts come naturally to an end. Caymanians’ “contracts of employment” end only with their retirement or (rarely, but it does happen)dismissal or death.

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