School trip costs out of reach

| 22/04/2014

(CNS): A trip to Washington DC by Sir John A Cumber Primary School which is out of reach for most parents has stirred up local concerns as only 17 kids from a potential 90 students have been able to find the cash. The summer trip, which started with a price tag of more than $2,700 per child, was reduced to around $2,300, parents tell CNS, only after it was cut from seven days to five and when teachers agreed to pay the costs out of their own pockets. Officials from the education department have defended the costly educational excursion, stating that it will expose students to “first hand learning opportunities” in the “political capital of the Western Hemisphere".

However, the annual school trip for Year 6 students is a costly affair for what is now just a five day outing, including travel days. Parents contacted CNS stating that they believed the school was not being realistic and to come up with an excursion so far out of reach for most families was unfair and unreasonable. The education ministry has defended the plans and stated that fundraising efforts were on-going to help subsidise families that wanted their children to go but did not have the means.

“The parents were invited to a meeting to discuss their concerns,” Shirley Wahler, the chief education officer, told CNS. “The requirements of the Excursion Policy were discussed, thereby explaining the reasons why the flexibility that some parents requested with respect to flight and hotel arrangements as well as participation on tours, etc, could not be accommodated.”

She said the length of the trip was reduced from seven to five days in an attempt to reduce the cost and the PTA Executive agreed to refund the deposits of anyone who made a deposit then determined that they could not participate. The tour leaders also agreed to donate the 100% discount they would have received for their tickets to the overall cost of the trip, thereby reducing the total cost by approximately US$6,000.

“There has never been a trip planned for this school in which 100% of the students are able to attend,” Wahler added. “The reasons for this vary but, where the reason is financial, the PTA has committed itself to assist any parent to meet the cost of the trip who wishes his or her child to participate. Additionally, they have embarked on fund raising activities and have asked the parents for support through the sale of raffle tickets, assistance with fund raising projects and the circulation of sponsor sheets to further reduce the cost to all involved.”

Nevertheless, 90 students in Year 6 were all invited to participate. While some 51 families expressed an interest, only 18 families paid a deposit but one of these later withdrew as they were unable to find the balance.

Parents told CNS that they believed the decision was not well thought out and the numbers show that what should be an annual trip for all the students to enjoy together has resulted in an excursion for a limited and privileged few.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cayman is a very rich haven. That being said, if these year 6 students wanted to go on this school trip, they could have very well created fund raisers all the way through out their middle school years to acquire enough money for the trip. (Someone in the comments mentioned that this school trip is planned since year 1) Maybe the schools need to better plan and not make this a financial burden on the parents. If the school is offering the trip, they should help the students find ways to pay for it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting article…. obviously there were other concerned parents out there who were willing to speak up!!!

    I am a parent who recently withdrew my child's participation for reasons all expressed not only to the school PTA and principal- but to the Ministry and Department of Education……

    I happen to have had ALL of the funds available for my child and I to go on the trip – but NOT the patience given the disorganization, value for money, and last minute information being provided! In fact, we will instead  be spending nearly three weeks in Orlando with other family and friends— for a fraction of the cost!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am a year six parent and yet to be invited to the so called meeting referenced by the department of education.

    Why a school trip this year? When was the last time any discussions about an end of year trip has taken place at the school?

    The school knew well in advance who they were catering to this is why parents were not invited to suggest any alternatives or provide input. The PTA executive "made up of resume builders" who care less about anyone or have never embraced the views or willingness of some parents- this is why they will never get the participation the want or need. Allow parents to offer their views and ask for their input – stop turning away parents who want to help.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If there was only one withdrawal – why are the numbers still fluctuating? 

  5. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps the Year 6 students could do fund raisers of some kind to fund the trip. that way if they don't reach the amount needed they don't go. When I was in school that is how our class raised money, we did car washes at a local gas station and charged $20.00 a car back in 1990! If they did this every weekend for one day all the kids could go without stressing parents out. It also teaches the students to work for what they want, if they don't work a fund raiser they don't go. This would be a simple solution, it is not rocket science and this way all the kids that participate go on the trip no matter the parent's income, and no, parents can't buy their chidren into the trip without working for it!

  6. Anonymousfacts says:

    PUBLICITY OPPORTUNITY

    It is said that every cloud has a silver lining and while thisstory doesn't offer much help, parents interested in having their child take part should capitalize on this media exposure and turn the efforts of the School into a success story. With all the restrictions placed on the School it has painstakingly tried to lower travel cost for this trip with success. As it’s now in a more public domain, why can't the community come together to offer support to students  deserving of this educational tour, not vacation, to Washington, DC.

    Below outlines more accurately the cost for this trip, other pertinent details & HOW YOU CAN HELP.

    1) COST of the trip is CI $1,531 per person.

    2) A down payment of $99 p/p from January was required by the Organizers. The PTA  covered this initial cost forseveral students whose parents came to the school and expressed interest but couldn’t meet the deadline. The School and the PTA also offered a refund policy to all parents. Should a parent and/or a child who registered later elected to withdraw on or before May 31, 2014 for what ever reason, the down payment is refunded. This was to allow parents the opportunity to have their child included without any financial risk and ample time to raise funds through group efforts and direct sponsorship for their child(ren) through the sponsor sheets and online sponsorship.

    3) NUMBER OF STUDENTS GOING: The number of attendees is constantly fluctuating because the School has extended the deadline many times to accommodate parents. As of Thursday, April 18, there are 34 participants of which 17 are students, 10 parents and 7 Faculty.

    4) TRIP DETAILS: 5 days to Washington, DC inclusive of flight, accommodations, meals, tours, transportation on the ground, medical  insurance. There will be another meeting some time during the week of April 28th to discuss the developments to date and confirm the itinerary with input from all participants.

    5) FUNDRAISERS: The PTA reached out to numerous organizations from January asking for corporate sponsors and has hosted many fundraisers this school year with specific aim to raise funding to minimize the expense to the parents. They are still waiting to hear back from many of the corporate sponsors. A calendar of events was sent home to the entire student body early in the school year, it was also circulated several times on the schools facebook page, emails and on the webpage.  This was published in advance, because the duty of the PTA is to drive fundraisers that will benefit the school community in many areas. Funding from some events went to support families in a time of need, the Extended After School School program and much more. There are still several fundraisers to go before the school year ends and if given the proper support they have the potential to cover the cost of  participants plus contribute to other goals of the school. If parents from all year groups come out in full force to the events and support whether as a volunteer or customer, the PTA would have had no problems raising the funds . The potential is there to raise funds for not just those that have registered but others who may have not have the opportunity because of financial constraints.

    6) COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE: Another saying is "Our Children are Our Future", Show Your Support by giving the Gift of Education. Using this eCard option you can donate funds directly to a child or the pool of students going. Even if it is $5 or $10, it will add up!

    It's easy to make a donation online!
    • Go to the WorldStrides website!  http://olr.worldstrides.net/scripts/cgiip.exe/RegisterOnline/PaymentLoginTrip.htm?ttype=gift&tripno=103412&travfirstname=Joseph&travlastname=Wallace    
    • Enter the Account Number: 103412
    • Keep the Last & First name: Wallace, Joseph for funds to go into the pool,
            OR
    • Enter the child’s name for funds to go directly to the child.
    • Follow the payment directions on the secure site.

    That's all it takes for your financial contribution to be credited towards the trip! Please share this link with with your friends and colleagues so any one any where in the world can contribute.

    Have a blessed day

  7. Some insight. says:

    it will expose students to “first hand learning opportunities” in the “political capital of the Western Hemisphere".

    …I doubt it. They'll walk around, look at stuff, not pay attention, etc. 90 kids is a ridiculous amount to shuttle around and supervise, seriously. This is an overly ambitious undertaking and I would not send my child if I had one. Too risky, even with the buddy system. Also, having parents sign a waiver will not get you out of the wrath that you'll face if something goes wrong.

    On the other hand. If you want them to learn about the politcal capital of the West that badly, incorporate it into their curriculum and have an expert from DC fly down here for a few days as special guest to give some talks. Cheaper, don't you think? Bring the lesson here, instead of transplanting the kids there.

    I saw someone on social media asking for donations for their child to go and I was wondering why they were incessantly posting about this field trip, now I see why. 

    Please rethink this one, West Bay Primary. It's stressing the parents out.

  8. Anonymous says:

    These Year 6 trips are known from Year 1. From what I have seen/heard every year 6 goes on a trips somewhere, so while I hearing the whining about the inconsiderate school officials and PTA, I am sure that if a parent, single or otherwise had put aside just even $50 per month from the time their child was in Year 1, by the timethat child reach Year 6, they would have the funds to pay for their trip. Don't tell me they didn't have $50 because I have seen some of the same parents crying poverty with their hair and nails done weekly, they are driving the fanciest cars (paying $800 + per month to the bank for it) and wearing the nicest clothes (need a new outfit every time some thing is happening) they just have their priorities wrong. The school is not setting up to break any kid's heart, they have an offer, it is up to the parent to either partake of the offer or not. That is life people, happens every day. Can I afford to go away on family vacations every year? No, so should I begrudge my neighbour who does? No. Or maybe I should blame my boss who doesn't pay me enough, or the airline who charges too much, or the hotel because they are too expensive. Stop whining. People always like to point the fingers at others when they don't get what they want. That said I agree that some of the trips I hear some of the schools taking, I wonder if it is to benefit the children or the so called chaperones teachers who looking for a family vacation, as their expenses are usually fully paid by the PTA/school. Also in other Caribbean countries it is very rare that you hear about them taking their children on excursions to give them a better appreciation for the world and places they have read about in books and I hate to say it but those same Caribbean countries trumps Cayman kids every time in times of academia. So you have to wonder what benefit are these trips.

    • Anonymous says:

      Listen here – maybe you see SOME people spending all that kind of money but dont put ALL of us in that category!

      I dont have $50 a WEEK to put away for a 5 day trip for my child! I dont get new clothes. I drive a second hand car. I struggle to pay my mortgage and utility bills. I send my children to primary school with a packed lunch everyday because I cant afford the $12 per day for both children to get a school lunch and snack.

      I have a very small savings account and that is holding money for my children's COLLEGE EDUCATION, not for a 5 day trip to Washington DC when these kids will just complain about it being too much walking and too hot and too much standing around listening to people droning about about stuff they dont even care about.

      Congrats to those families and parents that CAN afford it. I am not saying anything bad about them. I cant afford it and my child is not going because $2300 is simply not available to me to shell out for this trip.

      WB mother

      • Anonymous says:

        Why save for a COLLEGE EDUCATION (you were the one that shouted) when your child can get an education from the United Kingdom without have to pay tuition fees while they are going through college?

        CNS: University tuition fees in England and Wales cost between £6,000 and £9,000 per year for undergraduate home students, which includes British overseas territories students. 

        • Anonymous says:

          On the point made by CNS, those fees are paid by the state through subsidised loans, so there is no need for a parent to save for tuition fees.  Harvard costs $32,000 a year with a degree taking four years (total tuition costs $128,000).  Cambridge costs $15,000 a year and the degree takes three years (and that is with sterling at a four year high aganist the dollar) (total tuition costs $45,000 all funded by the UK upfront).  There is no need for any Caymanian parent to save $1 for their child's college tuition.

        • Anonymous says:

          Do they really get an education in the UK "without have to pay tuition fees"? Really? look into that before spouting your nonsense. They may get reduced tuition fees, but what about room and board and expenses like warmer clothes for the cooler climate and laptop and flights to and from and misc expense money?

          And dont worry about the shouting, I was emphasizing!

          Do you wrong me for saving now for my children's future education????

          To each his own…at least I know that I will be able to putmy children through college be it in the UK or the US or wherever they choose to attend.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes they get in without paying a penny of tuition fees.  It is all funded by loans from the state. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    I know that the teachers accompanying the children are giving up their time and will have the responsibility for looking after the children throughout the trip – onerous duties,  but I wonder how keen they would be to organise trips like these if they (the teachers) had to pay themselves.  These trips cost the supervising teachers nothing.  I think that much more affordable excursions or no trips at all would be the outcome.

    • Anonymous says:

      Check your facts!  The teachers have to pay.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rubbish!  I KNOW they don't.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are wrong.  It varies from travel company to travel company but they allow one free teacher place per a certain number of students.  So it works out as 1 free place for every 10, 15, or 20 students.  Teachers do not pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      It takes a special type of teacher to be an "adviser"and want to be responsible to chaperone a trip. It does not matter if they had to pay for their ticket or if it were free those teachers have given up thousands of hours planning fundraising, planning hours and have dedicated their lives to those children. If they get paid for the "job", it does not come close to the hours they spend planning etc. I know as I was an "advisor" for 16 years and absolutely loved every minute of it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why go to DC?  I am sure there are plenty of Commonwealth based funding options that would open the possibility fo a trip to London, whcih after all is the main seat of governance for the territory.  DC is practically just a theme park of Americana.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is not America.  

  12. Anonymous says:

    First, I think the SJACPS – PTA should have a read of the suggestions above and in particular, the trip is bit advanced for year 6 why not plan a trip more cost effective and inclusive?

    The fact that all parents are not attending meetings should not prevent students from the opportunity. OR is the trip a reward for parents/PTA?

    How many of these PTA Presidents are simply living vicariously through their chldren and feel that they will give their children what they didn't have? This is a great motivation to have but sometimes it can be carried too far and simply appear as a way to obtain favour for their children.

    In fact, instead of looking at parents who don't come to PTA, maybe we should look at the awards/treatment of children whose parents are involved in the PTA. Maybe it's not the students' efforts but the efforts of parents being rewarded. 

    Maybe if the parents wanted their children to see the world they should provide that educational experience themselves.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the organisers are from DC.
    Seriously. I went on a govt Primary school trip to DC before.
    It’s the right age range for this exposure, but it’s more ‘fun’ than informative.
    I’d say none/few of those kids came back with an appreciation of Lincoln, Washington, MLK Jr, the Vietnam Memorial or the impact of discovery at the Smithsonian. Etc.
    Instead of these education patches,why not have students research + do meaningful reports on these aspects of DC? Then, private sponsors would be happier to support promising kids and future politicians (or not)…

  14. Anon says:

    My daughter was also unable to go on her class trip last year, as I am a single mother on a tight budget. I hatethat the schools set up children whose parents are not wealthy for disappointment. It broke my heart to tell my staight A student daughter that she would be left out of the trip, but I have to pay our mortgage and CUC.

  15. Knot S Smart says:

    These are really hard times in Cayman…

    Some people cant even afford to buy toilet paper nowadays…

    • Teecha says:

      Yes, the Education Department being one of those that ” can’t afford” toilet paper, amongst other things. If you want to go and teach in the public education system, be sure to set aside about 5 % of what they offer to pay you for essential teaching supplies and toilet paper, which you will need to purchase on your own.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Compass makes a good alternative and is a good use of wasted paper.

  16. UHUHUH says:

    You see how unthinking some of these school officials  are! They talk about this like it were a group of grown ups going on this trip and if some could not afford to go or dropped out, No Big Deal! But we are dealing with kids, folks! Kids in the same school in the same classes. We have to think before we make these announcements. First they should have found out the number of parents that can afford to send their kids on any this trip. Secondly if there are less than fifty percent [50%] that can afford to go look for a more affordable trip that will be equally as educational as Washington D.C. This gives most of the kids an opportunity to make the trip and perhaps sometime later, the other kids, may be able to take the trip to Washington.

    What I'm afraid of is that if we send just the few kids that can afford to go, when they return, I'll venture to say that some time after school resumption, there will be some will flaunt it in the face of some of those who could not afford to go. Many of us have seen this kind of teasing, when we were at that tender age! Kids "can" sometimes be cruel, even though perhaps unknowingly.

    So think about this carefully, all you parents and teachers.  We need love and harmony among  all our children in school. 

    • Radio call in says:

      Too right!! And why such the high price?  $540 per day? 4 kids in a room to see free museums.  Something sounds like travel agent profits here…. Ever here of a little research, Travelocity, and public transportation ?  Not well planned out! For $1000 bucks per kid sponsorship would flow and where is the fundraising from September 1st? I would have hired a babysitter for $40 a night (3 nights a month- 7 months $&50 already in bank!) your math teachers should show how much to earn weekly to get to this goal!

      Bad planning for schoolc and Admin all around to not think of a way for a kid to earn this trip on their own!! Then again, when has the Admin ever done things right or followed through?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Every year schools plan these exhorbitant trips for children LEAVING (as opposed to graduating)Primary school. They have not completed their education. It becomes a pressure situation if you cant afford to go. I lived in D.C. Expensive to get there and expensive to stay there. I knew everything about D.C. before I got there. I read!! What a novel idea You have the internet now. Going to many places would be a learning experience. Doesn't mean we can afford it. Stop bashing parents. Some did go to PTA meetings, fund raised and still cant afford it. The fund raising at my child's school got a $20 discount for the kids and free tickets and pocket money for the teachers

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, I would rather put away CI$50/month for a future family vacation rather than sending my child for one week on a school trip to Washington. Trust me, my kids have been on some of those school trips and there is a lot of "fun" stuff such as laser tag, ice hockey/skating, basketball game watching and shopping involved. When I went to school there were never any overseas trips and trust me, I turned out just fine, traveling the world as an adult………..It is not the school's responsibility to provide children with traveling opportunties……….

  18. Anonymous says:

    That is a lot of money. what were they thinking? Perhaps they were not thinking?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh my….these aren't even middle school children?

      Skip the trip now and wait until they are older. I do not believe they will completely enjoy or understand the history with a trip to Washington DC.

       

  19. Anonymous says:

    This may highlight what many talk about: There are only a few parents who take the time to attend PTA meetings and get involved in their children's school activities.  Many will have (valid) excuses as to why they can't attend meetings or why they are too busy.  

    I made sure I attended all PTA meetings and assisted with fundraisings when my kids went to school.  When they had their end of year trip I worked like a slave to assist where ever I could.  Most of the time I was the only male assisting the females.  And it was the same set of people (every time) who worked to help with fundraising, sports day and the uniform shop.

    When it was time for trips we had parents who wanted to just show up to ride along after others had done all the hard work to organize, plan and raise money.

    We know there will be people who genuinely cannot afford to pay for this type of school trip and they should receive whatever assistance can be afforded by the school's PTA – not the government. The government didn't plan this trip so why should it pay for it.  Hopefully, these same people came out to meetings, helped with fundraising and volunteered their time to make the trip affordable for all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Government doesnt tell the criminals to commit crimes either but the government funds everything for the prisons. Maybe the prisoners should have fundraisers and food drives so they can eat that way the government could assist in educational programmes!

  20. Anonymous says:

    As a Class Advisor for many years I always ran field trips where EVERY student could participate. I, personally, felt that was how it should be. Many other class advisors felt differently, but in the classes that I was in charge, I planned several activities instead of one huge, expensive, out of state, trip where most of the class could not afford to go.

    So, this trip is different and now alot of money needs to be raised. There are many fundaising activities that can be done and done in a short period of time. Raffles are the easiest to run and the prize does not have to be "that" extravagant. In school (if school allows) flower sales, balloon sales, bake sales. Weekend car washes, hot dog sales and if you have any upcoming sporting event candy/cold drink sales. Can the school hold a dance- that was usually a quick $3,000 with dance tickets and concessions. It may be too late to order, but T-shirts with the school or mugs, pom-poms, etc. (check Orient Trader catalog). Lastly, have you asked companies around GC to sponsor the trip? Many companies would love to help.

    Good luck. Wish I were close enough to help out in your fundraising! Washington, DC would be an amazing trip for the students.

  21. Anonymous says:

    If these same "parents" that compained would come out and assist with the various fund raising efforts that the PTA has put on to assist in the cost of this trip then they would have some solid ground to stand on. When you do nothing and expect something it doesnt speak well to the individuals persona, it just means your out right lazy and ultimately your sick feeling of wanting to be the "privileged few" shows through. Work hard and you will get what you deserve.

  22. Anonymous says:

    this would be great exposure for these kids. it's a shame the government can't help, but that's because the MLA's are too busy hogging up all the travel money for themselves. starveout.

    • MEM says:

      And buying multi-million dollar jail cells instead of getting a good local architect and builder to build the same crap right here! Imagine the shipping charges?!

    • Cayman Mama says:

      Why should the "Government" help?  The government funds are all out of our pockets. For those parents who cannot afford for their child to go, then they MUST participate in the PTA fundraising efforts.  And I also think it is wrong for the teacher chaperones to be expected to pay their way.  They will not be on vacation, are already poorly paid, and many fund a lot of classroom supplies themselves & buy meals for students who arrive without lunch or lunch money.

  23. Tawnie says:

    Just off the top of my head – some fundraising ideas:

    1. What if the parents of the students approached thier employers to do a dress down day and donate funds (say $5 per person to dress down) to the school? There are a few firms on island that already do this to support various charities, why not approacht them to do this to support our local youth? Maybe even ask a government entity to participate. 
    2. Have the students do a 5K race or swim-a-thon and ask the community for pledges.
    3. If there are any bands among the students – have the students and staff hold a concert and charge guests to enter. This could be held at the school hall and 100% of the profits will go to the trip.
    4. See if you can set up a stand at the Farmer's Market – sell art from the students art classes…
    5. Minature golf tournament – work the the local mini golf place to hold an event and part of the proceeds would go to the trip. 
    6. Work with the local radio stations and Cayman 27 to advertise your fundraising efforts. 

    Where there is a will there is a way – if the kids really want to go, let them get creative and find a way(s) to fundraise. Griping about the cost isnt going to make the funds appear. I'd be happy to donate to kids getting this opportunity – for many of them it might be the chance of a lifetime.

    Travel is the only thing that we buy that makes us richer. 

     

     

  24. Anonymous says:

    Crazy where are they staying ? why so much money? Dont we own a plane ? hotel is $99 per night shuttle bus is$600 per day

    food is inexpensive what are they up to  getting them all new clothes?

    $200,000 thats crazy

    if they went on a Cruise it would only be $600 for a week

    This is just typical

    • Hear hear! says:

      I agree!  Someone is making a pretty profit.  I just went on Travelocity and found $720 pp for Sunday to Satirday June 30-July 6 staying at the Hyatt Regency on Capital Hill – includes airfare RT from Cayman!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Are the PTAs books audited? I remember years ago someone who formed a club (for a popular sport) told me of money being made from all the sponsors being so generous the club was almost a 'booming' business.

        Are they collecting extra money to cover spending as well and/or for tickets to continue on to other destinations?

        I do hate to play devil's advocate here but my family and I contribute a lot of money to these schools and envisaged that the money was spent on improving the educational experience of STUDENTS and the actual title 'parents-teachers-asscoiation' was not meant to be interpreted as for the benefit of teachers and parents.

        There are many corporate citizens supporting programmes in good faith but I think it's time these associations be audited by the Ministry or Department, hence subject to oversight by the Auditor General.

        Let's not be so naive and trusting in this day and age of rampant white collar crime to underestimate misuse of funds even by many unsuspecting persons.

  25. noname says:

    Lol. The same trip cost Prep school students less than $1500. But like everything the Ministry of Incompetence does,  the price has to be jacked up. Go ask the CIS parents how much is trip cost them, I got a cool 100 that says it was less than this. 

    • Anonymous says:

      It cost us USD 1,900 + spending money for the CIS grade 8 (year 9) trip this year.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This just goes to highlight the growing divide between rich and poor on this island. It's incredibly blindsighted to think that $2,300 is reasonable for one childs school trip….and 80-90% attendance rate should be considered before going ahead with any one trip.

  27. Anonymous says:

    $2300 for 5 days, and 2 out of those days are travel days? Lets look at the math:

    $600 airfare (Cayman Airways does not fly direct any longer)

    $500 hotel ($125/night for 4 nights … assuming double occupancy … that's $250/night per room and I doubt they stay at the Ritz so that is a fair hotel price, including taxes and fees)

    $375 food ($75/day which is VERY generous for an 11 year old child)

    $500 for transportation and tours (3 days tours, 2 travel days not included)

    Total: $1975 (and this is a very rounded up figure).

    Yes, Washington DC is expensive, but NO WHERE near expensive as NYC! I lived in both cities for many years.

    The cost the Dept of Education is quoting is WAYYYYYYYY too much. And Year 6 going to Washington DC? They should wait until the children are older, maybe they could even do odd jobs around to help their parents pay for the trip.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I agree that trips are great learning opportunities for all children, but the harsh reality is that many people nowadays struggle to pay their mortgage, CUC bill and groceries and that there just isn't that amount of disposable cash left to send one kid on a trip for one week with such a price tag, especially if a family has more than one child with potentially each child wanting to attend the overseas trip in their respective year group.

    My children attend a private school and the annual trips organized by the school also have a hefty price tag, especially when considering the tuition that has to be paid. It seems apparent that schools and extra curricular providers (sports, arts etc) have lost touch with reality and don't understand any longer the cost involved of raising a child in Cayman. There are many families (like mine) where both parents are college graduates, have decent jobs but can't afford to throw roughly $5,000 for two kids at a one week trip for each (and no, we don't drive big fancy cars or own a boat etc).

  29. Anonymous says:

    Why Washington D.C. for Primary School students?  I could understand if they were High School students.  Why not Disney in Orlando, Sea World or other places in Florida.   Students at that age are interested in fun trips. The airfare to D.C. is very expensive as well as dining out there.  Going on any school trip for less that 7-10 days is useless anyway, considering at least two days will be spent at the airports and in the air.  I have been on these trips and 90 children are way to many to supervise in a unfamiliar environment. I wish these primary school teachers /education department would get as enthusiatic about teaching the kids so they don't fall behind when they reach High School.

  30. Anonymous says:

    A few thoughts regarding this matter:

    1.  The fact that teachers have to pay for the trip is ridiculous – they are exposing themselves to huge liability (safety of the kids) and "pressured" to do so at their own cost.  Why anyone in their right mind would do so is beyond me…I'm sure we don't have the full story here.

    2.  It's unfortunate that this trip is too costly for some, but that is life – great opportunity to teach the students the realities of life.  Work hard, save, raise funds, and you go on trips…

    3.  I would suggest that those who cannot go ought to do an "alternative" trip – either one that is less costly (ie. Havana, Cuba), or a local one.  Go camping in the East End – set up daily activities that have to do with Caymanian culture.

    4.  Does Mrs. Wahler ever have anything positive to say other than the same old drivel???

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if the teachers were pressured to pay for their tickets. Wouldn't be the first time that teachers have been pressured illegally. I know of one primary school on the island where the teachers are forced to go to work at 7:30, even though the teacher working hours begin at 8:15. Not saying that most teachers don't get to school that early…but actually changing hours and reprimanding teachers that can't make it by that time….Many teachers live in fear of speaking up.  Why should teachers have to pay thousands of dollars for a trip they are being required to take, when they are probably on their summer break, and they are working. In essence, they are paying $2000 to work an extra week.

      • Anonymous says:

        What school is that – would love to know.  Yes, teachers do live in fear of speaking up and always have.  The Department likes to pay lip service that teachers are somehow valued – they're just a number, only to be replaced by another number.  That's it…

    • Hear hear says:

      I see zero leadership for true change.  We simply need better  (paid) teachers to attract better talent from around the globe.  We need a tougher stance on parents who think the schools should raise their children- (you want FREE education? Then attendance and passing grades must be kept up.)  We need Special Ed for kids who need attention so they don't call through the cracks and disrupt the classes.

      Where is the Education Ministry on this?  We only have 6000 students and our MAIN Govt goal should be college education or vocational training for each and every child.  Only then, will they fill the work permits of the future instead of begging for a Govt salary and circle of teen pregnancies and social services.

      save THIS generation.  If you want school trips, then better planning is needed all around. Start with mandatory monthly parent meetings and must have passing grades to attend. Then a fundraiser that kids can earn their own trip… (My office needs cleaning and I don't have to pay a large firm? My kids need an after school responsible babysitter, ever hear of a newspaper route?)

      voters : demand better – today

      parents- get involved and demand better – today

      public- support the achievers and ask for quality graduates for your businesses 

  31. Far Canal says:

    A trip to Washington is not appropriate for Year 6 students.  Yes for Middle/High School, but year 6 Juniors…..no.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Try paying over $800.00/month per child for school fees, as expat parents.

  33. Anon says:

    Are these some the same children who leave primary school unable to read? A trip to Washington DC won't cure that!  This is utterly ridiculous – whether it is $2300 or $2700. This is the attitude that throwing money at it will make the problem go away. There are many avenues that these children can learn about "the political capital world". If only they could read!!  Waller is spouting the same nonesense she did on The Panel. Let's feed our children and educate them. 

  34. Anonymous says:

    This is not news worthy.

  35. Anonymous says:

    So what is the issue?   The school is arranging a VOLUNTARY, NON MANDATORY summer trip.   If you want to go and can raise the money, then go, otherwise, dont. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The issue is that every child has a right to equal opportunity. The set price for this trip obviously defeats that.