Report quality challenged

| 25/06/2014

(CNS) Updated: Officials from the education ministry have said that they were right to challenge the quality of a report about the standards of teaching in Cayman’s schools and the issues with student behaviour. The existence of a secret but damning report from 2012, which cost the ministry around US$40k, was revealed in Finance Committee Monday when members of the opposition benches asked education bosses about its worrying contents. However, the chief officer has said the original report was called into question as there was a lack of evidence to support the findings and it was altered by a senior evaluator who had been involved in the original inspection.

The inspection and report was commissioned by the education ministry to review the provision for students at risk and those with behavioural challenges.

Education Ministry Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues explained in a release why there were two versions of the 2012 Behaviour Report. She said that there were serious concerns about the quality of the first draft, which were addressed “in a clear and frank manner with the consultant”, who is understood to have been educational expert Dr David Moore.

The government official said that the final version of the report, by a senior evaluator in the ministry who is a 22 year veteran of the education system, ensured that the report met the quality standards set out for all reports. 

“She was the deputy lead inspector on the 2012 review and the only other person to have the complete overview besides the consultant. Therefore, it was appropriate in her role to have contributed to finalising the report,” Rodrigues claimed.

“The ministry’s intention in undertaking reviews of this nature is to gather information and identify weaknesses and strengths, based on actual evidence, in order to put in place corrective measures, and not to withhold information from the general public. In this instance the aim was to review the organization and effectiveness of educational and specialist provision for students at risk-including those with behavioural challenges,” she added.

Recognising that there have been a number of problems in schools regarding behaviour and issues with teachers, Rodriues defended the teachers, stating that most “are committed and professional”, and many were commended during the recent graduations.

“Based on the academic achievements our students displayed at the recent graduation ceremonies, this indicates that academic environments are being created that are conducive to effective teaching and learning,” she said.

She did, however, admit that with the behaviour problems in the schools with some students, not all teachers “respond well to negative behaviours” and added, “There are a few who let us down.”

Rodrigues stated that she expected educators to be held to the highest professional standards.

“The tool to achieve this is effective performance management,” she said. “The Ministry and DES have also worked together to create the first set of National Professional Standards for our teachers. These standards make very clear our expectations for our educators. At the same time we have set out expectations for school discipline and student behaviour. The 2012 Behaviour Review notes that most of our students behave well. However, there is a small number who create very significant challenges for our teachers.”

Since taking office, the current education minister, Tara Rivers, commissioned a review of the situation this year by Anita Cornish, senior policy advisor for special needs, who found that tools and resources are not always used effectively and consistently throughout the system in terms of controlling behaviour. Cornish has now issued recommendations, which the officials said are being “aggressively pursued by schools”.

Meanwhile, although none of these reports have yet been released to the public, the ministry stated that the costs of the original review in 2012 were as follows: 

  • Desk Top Review: £7,000
  • On-island site visits and leading and developing a team of educators in field work and observation: £10,500
  • Report writing: £3,500 pounds
  • Travel expense: £1,582.82
  • Subsistence: £1,155

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a classic case of "shoot the messanger".


    Incompetance starts at the top.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Poor MARY.  You remember the nursery rhyme; Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With tinkle bells and crackle shells and everything all in a row.  Just that this MARY  got poor advise. 'MARY,MARY QUITE CONTRARY GOT POOR ADVISE'. Time foryou to get rid of your Tinkle Bells and Crackle Shells and get some sound advise.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Your task is to write an independent report.  Please note if you say things we do not like about our friends we will alter the report.  And still call it independent.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Heads wont role because lete face it, at the high top the British still rule, but they are too much of wimps to get involved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you want your own government or direct rule? Make your mind up please. If you wrote in English UK might actually understand your point.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is such crap to blame the British when Caymanian mismanagment is clearly responsible for this education mess both political and senior civil servants in the Education Ministry.

      The British are damned if they do get involved and damned if they don't get involved. 

      It wasn't the British that had rewritten an unfavorable report on the Caymanian education system.

      Until people are held responsible and accountable this pathetic performance will continue and the children will suffer.

      • Anonymous says:

        I dont blame the British one bit, but my God, why wait before Cayman is run into the ground, can't we jump to the obvious conclusion that the Brits need to step in now rather than 1 to 2 years from now when the damage becomes irreversible. 

  5. Insider says:

    I spoke to Dr Moore at length during and after the Inspection and he was very open and honest with me and others. I found his feedback was balanced and accurate. People didn't like it, but people don't like being criticised.  He was alarmed by what he discovered and genuinely wanted to help put things right.

    I know that he gave detailed feedback to the Minister, the Chief Officer, the CEO and the various Senior and Chief Policy Advisors that accurately reflected what has been leaked.


    The new "review" by Annita Cornish has been done without her even visiting any school or talking to any Principal. I am at a loss to explain where and what her "evidence base" is.  Dr Moore spent three weeks in the schools, at least.  Ms Cornish has never been to my school, not once, to my knowledge.


    • Anonymous says:

      It's really just politicians being politicians and civil servants being civil servants in a Banana Republic. And around and around we go, where it stops, nobody knows, and unfortunately, no one really seems to care, as long as they retain the power of their little kingdom. Meanwhile, the children, who are pawns in this adult game, suffer.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Again and again this happens. The CI Gov spend money’s on reports and file them in the back room, then write their own.
    The question is if the education dept hired this person to do a report, at the time they thought he was qualified. Who hired him?
    Disgraceful and the heads of the education dept should be sacked, oh forgot, no one ever gets sacked… Let’s be honest here, and I will put money on it, the report says something negative about the education dept, therefore docs get amended!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dr. David L. Moore C.B.E.

    I am doing some research on the Eucational Expert. Seems he has some credibility. Here is a link to the House of Commons Parlimentary Business page on Behaviour in Schools.


  8. Anonymous says:

    When I become Premier I will have all reports written beforehand, and then select appropriate consultants to conduct studies and inspections to gather facts that will match the findings in the report. We cannot afford any more unfettered criticism of senior civil servants.

  9. Anonymous says:

    How do you hire and pay significant sums of money for an independent and highly respected expert to do an evalualtion and then, because you dont like what it said, ask someone else in Government to edit it.  And then have the nerve to defend your decision to deceive by having the report altered but claim you had no idea that the report was altered.  Why didnt you just ask that 22yr veteran do the report in the first place if you were so satisfied they were the best person to do the report?!  I have followed the craziness that has been going on in the London Office with senior staff.  What is most striking about that and this mess with education is that it seems no one is ever held accountable in Government and nor can they be dismissed for incompetence.  Eric Bush and Dax are left to plead for Govt employees to respect and take direction from the head of the london office who they refuse to recognise.  Mr Manderson has his hands full.  Good luck to you Mr Manderson.  Looks like you are in charge of the mad house. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    I understand that the Ministry is trying to pass the buck because when the 22 year veteran and others told the mInistry including the new Minister that their schools were failing they did not want to hear.  They bullied people to do as they want and the truth was ignored.  In fact, there are times that they – not the evaluators, made statements that were not accurate but it made the Ministry look good.

    To say they defended teachers – XXXX   The ministry blames teachers first and students are always right.  Even when students lie about teachers, the teachers get punished first and when they find out it was a lie, tough luck for that poor teacher.   How do I know?  I used to work in the system but left because it was disheartening and I am a Caymanian who would like nothing better than to see our education system truly succeeding.   When they take away the Caribbean exams and let our children take tests that include tick boxes or multiple choice but does not force them to think process and evaluate information we are producing a bunch of illiterate children with no comprehension skills, no ability to reason which leads to fights because they cannot comprehend or reason with another person to resolve issues.  We also are creating a false success rate.  

    Thank God for those who can send their children overseas to receive a good education because our educators at the top are failing us.  Teachers teach because they love their job but if they are constantly berated and demotivated, it must be reflected in their lack of enthusiasm.  


  11. Anonymous says:

    For 10G's I would have written you a report that said what you wanted it to. I'm available anytime.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let's be reasonable. Factor in cost of living and time spent. That's about 25k KYD plus a presentation of it in laymans terms and a nice summary for everyone involved. Then propose how to do this for all govt depts…..

  12. Anonymous says:

    These critics are shelved with their computers, laptops, IPads and smart phones just waiting to pounce. Where are these critics when volunteers are needed at the schools? Where are these critics when there are fund raising events? Where are these critics when the schools ask for Mentors? Where are these critics when there are PTA meetings? No where to be found! Just sitting on a shelf waiting to pounce anonymously.
    Sad to say but that’s our Cayman, only the critics are the experts. They know everything, no sah.
    Sitting on a shelf waiting to pounce with their expert knowledge about Everything and Everyone. WOW!
    I don’t know why these critics aren’t in the top jobsin Government running the show. What a wonderful Cayman we would live in. Everything would be perfect with the critics sitting on the shelf ready to pounce, but wait, no more pouncing because the critics would be running the show and itwould be perfect. Gosh, I almost forgot. LMAO
    CNS, you would loose business because the critics would have everything perfect and you would have no story to run!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Pathetic.  Heads should roll.  Of course they won't.  The report should have been published and the issues answered, rather than the report doctored as part ofa self-serving cover-up.

  14. Richard Wadd says:

    Burying our heads in the sand again … Well, at least that's one thing we're not short of on this island !!

    So why exactly are we wasting good money to have independent reports prepared if we already know what we want the report to say?

    After all, he who pays the piper, calls the tune, correct?

    • Anonymous says:

      You're a fool. Obviously reports have to be scrtuinised and not simply swallowed whole.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why keep it secret if it ain’t worth crap? My bet is, there is about to be an implosion within the system. When I attended school, the only problem was dealing with bullies. Our teachers were the best of the best not the best of the worst. But who can blame them now? Going home miserable because of lack of money. Around here, they should use those smarts and be a lawyer or a banker if they want to make bank.

  16. Anonymous says:

    So the story here is a report was made and the results were deemed unacceptable so the report finding were changed.

    Mary Rodrigues & Shirley Wahler really need to be held accountable for the condition of the education system in the country as the senior civil servants in the Education Ministry.

    If the Education Ministry is not fit for purpose then the responsiblity is theirs, to exactly what degree is debatable but clearly they both have a great deal of responsiblity.

    But at the end of the day I don't expect any responsiblity or accountability in this matter.

  17. JTB says:

    So, to sum up.

    the Ministry paid for an independent report, they didn't like what it said, so they re-wrote it to say what they wanted it to say.

    Nothing to see here, move along!

  18. Voice of reason says:

    Report says teaching standads are terrible. What does a lazy, arrogant, indignant person with no ability for self-critisism, analysis, willingness or incentive to improve do? Bury the report for a year or two. Bury their heads. Discredit the report. Brilliant. Job done.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Education leaders defend the teachers, but they need to be aware that what is being said about teachers as some truth to it..

  20. Anonymous says:

    Could the 22 year veteran of the education system not have come to consensus with the inspector while he was on-island and during the draft reporting stage?  Deleting 6 and a half pages of his recommendations afterwards seems very extreme.

    Is a report only a 'quality' report if it says what the Ministry want it to say?  What makes a 'quality' report…a nice font and glossy paper?  

    I imagine Dr. Moore may be none too happy about having his name dragged through the mud in a public forum like this.  Such intense criticism of his work, with no opportunity to reply, seems extremely unfair 

    • AnnaMouse says:

      Just wait he will sue the CIG, might as well put another $1.5 million in the budget to cover the damage to his reputation.

  21. Anonymous says:

    "Rodrigues and Wahler stated that they expect educators to be held to the highest professional standards."

    Likewise to the both of you. Do a better job and maybe this report wouldn't have had to be done!

  22. Anonymous says:

    So -if kids learn to misbehave from parents;

    then do teachers learn it from the Dept, 

    & the Dept learns it from Ministry?!

  23. And Another Ting says:

    There was alack of evidence to support the findings. Wow! Education personnel paid out these funds for this report on the basis of insufficient evidence?. Come on now these employees they , I.e. The Education officers , can't believe that this is an acceptable commentary .one would think that if you contract someone to do,a, report on an important matter such as this, that there would be certain caveats insisted on including evidence, who they spoke to, when the conversations were held etc. these aspects would not necessarily form part of the final report, however, it would form an important aspect of the review process which could be shared with the Policy makers enabling them to make appropriate policy decisions.

    We can no longer accept mediocre work from highly paid civil employees and we also cannot continue to let them off the hook when they obfuscate the truth. We need for them to be accountable not because of politics or likes or dislikes of the characters who hold these positions, bit, simply because their ineptitude is no doubt affecting the future of our children.  Minister Tara we expect swift action on this and other issues which will can impede our children's progress.