Mac warns of bad old days

| 05/08/2014

(CNS): The opposition leader has said he hopes the current minister will be very careful about major changes in the education system that could create an unfair two-tier system and take Cayman back to the bad old days. Following the pressure from the education minister's political backers, C4C, to privatize schools and her own support of academies, grant maintained or charter-style schools, which favour selection, McKeeva Bush also warned that too much change at once undermines achievements. But selling off schools and reintroducing selection would not only be detrimental to students and a backward step but he fears it would also leave too many students unprepared for the increasingly demanding employment market.

Bush told CNS that he was hoping that the framers of any new education policy in government today will not go down the road of selection.

"I'm hoping that what is being proposed will bring changes that give a child a meaningful education relevant to today's world, in which they must live and move and have their being; rather than a system that creates resentment in children because of the way they are treated and who recognise they won't be able to cope in a modern sophisticated educated world," he said. "A system that will enhance their lives rather than take us backwards to a two-tier system of education. As a legislator and grandparent, I'm not giving support in any shape or form to any such suggestion, no matter how much it is dressed up."

The opposition leader remembered how things were in the "bad old days" when segregation was forced on children.

"In the early sixties and early seventies there was a two-tier system, when good teachers like the late teacher Mrs Theoline McCoy and the late Principals Mr Timothy McField and Mr McHale of the secondary modern school … fought a great battle because the government of the day had in place a biased two-tier system of education. Some children were chosen to attend the Cayman Island High School and others were pushed into the Secondary Modern school, where they started pushing us out of the school as early as age 14 because 'they needed space' they said," Bush recalled, adding that it was "atrocious".

He said it was the secondary modern school that created the double standards and the "slave mentality", with the idea that "what was good for one set of people was not good for another" and others must be treated differently.

"Thank God for good teachers like Mr Charley Dixon from East End, who fought the battle to ensure that, despite the two-tier system, children learned to do something," he added.

"I will watch to see what is going to happen to the recommendations that government has for changes in our education system, Charter schools and all," Bush said, as he warned that two much change of any kind can be disruptive. He pointed to the more recent past when a number of changes close together to bring the local system in line with the UK's national curriculum, straight A students began failing as a result of the amount of change all at once, which had a long term negative impact on their time in school.

Bush said the curriculum was a critically important factor in education with the appropriate teachers to teach it. He said how those teachers are treated by the ministry and administration is also very important but at present "there is much to be desired in that aspect".

The leader of the opposition did, however, offer his full support to the minister over the clampdown on the school dress code. He said there had always been rules about uniforms and students should be well groomed. "It makes them look better and I would think feel better too," Bush said. "We have beautiful children and they don't need tattoos or markings on their head to make them stand out or attractive. And it doesn't enhance their lives in any way."

The clampdown on how kids dress in school was recently announced by the ministry but the major changes planned to the system appear to be a work in progress. Tara Rivers has denied that any changes will create a two-tier system or segregation but she has offered her backing for academies and charter schools, a system which in the UK has involved selection in most cases.

While her political backers are calling for the complete privatization of the system, with schools being run by boards and companies and the government paying fees on behalf of students, the fears are that this will mean a significant percentage of children will not find places in these types of schools. This will then create the two-tier system feared by the opposition leader and many others.

So far, the premier and former education minister, who was been a long time staunch advocate for raising standards for all children and inequality in education, has remained silent on the proposed privatization of the system.  

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Quite why any person with a scrap of common sense would be paying attention to anything McKeeva Bush says is surely beyond the pale. He's a 100 ton dinosaur noisily and meaninglessly trudging around in a world that has moved on from the environment he attempted to have a meaningful place in. I guess he's one of nature's aberrations? Please, Mr.Bush, go home and lie down.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I'm not worried when Mac warns about the bad ole days; it is when he talks about the good days then I'm worried.

    • C'mon Now! says:

      Could it be any worse than it is now?  Just wondering, we are paying through the nose yet the children don't appear to be getting much for it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tara and Winston have failed us.  He is too busy trying to please his private sector friends and discredit his own Caymanians.  Come on Winston weknow you know better and had a great upbringing with 2 respectful parents!  Don't go with the flow, I know that you know better.

  4. Slowpoke says:

    When it comes to this issue, it clearly shows that the C4C opinion is based on ideology and therefore, "facts", "studies", "research", “evaluation”, etc. be damned.  They are basically saying "we know better because we believe it".

    • Anonymous says:

      Bad old days?? I don't remember 20 years ago kids getting out of school not being able to read, i dno't remember the majority of kids going to school looking like thugs, i don't remember kids beating teachers..i guess the bad old days isn't so bad huh? this is part to blame on the old government also

  5. Anonyanmous says:

    I agree with Mr. Bush, Senior School aka Annex was a bad idea and this reminds me of the Annex vs the High School days.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Coming from a man who fell asleep on the stage at my graduation, his comments makes me laugh. Since when have you cared Mckeeva? Since when have you care about what happens to the education system other than to make it a political mule for yourself. Look at what UCCI is……..nothing. Not establish,not ranked, not worth the time of effort. What can a degree from that place to for anyone other than in Cayman. Education is the last thing on your mind.

    You sir are one of the main reasons Caymanians are below the $hit pile in the work force. You and many of the MLA's there do not care about pushing and enforcing that Caymanians do get the very best in education so they can compete with the international standards of jobs that are being given to expats.You all are only concern about yourself and your own children. 

    I remember a time when Government  took funding from the eduction system to build linford pierson road. ARE YOU JOKING??? What are you guys on man. Damn idiots

    • Anonymous/ says:

      Its not the man – its the message. The man has expired from power long time. Get over it!  Stick with the issues at hand!

      • Anonymous says:

        Apparently he hasn't expired from power, because there are still some 4000 donkeys out there that keep voting him in. Baffles my mind, everyone and there dog with half a brain can see straight through him yet others are blinded and lap up everything he spews from his mouth like its the word of God. Get Mac out of politics along with the other deadweights that have been their for years and only then will we see any kind of progress whatsoever.

        • AnnaMouse says:

          Actually people just like free stuff and he delivers Gov't handouts like candy to his district and friends.  They are actually quite clever to vote for him as he has literally delivered the goods to WB time & time again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to metnion, I am positive if you were to troll back through the news over the last 10yrs, there are many instances where the words "we don't need education" came straight from Mac's mouth. But he has clearly forgotten those utternaces, just like he has forgotten yesterday was Monday.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Back to the bad old days, are you serious?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Innovation? Everything in Cayman is controlled by the gov't……

    Why badger the Ministers? It is the high ranking civil servants that control the Government and country? We need to change them before we change the country………..

    MArk Zuckerberg quit college to start facebook…wake up young people…you don't have to work in the norm??

    • Anonymous says:

      Its hard for those to think outside the box when they worship some imaginary person in the sky.

  9. Anonymous says:

    When McKeeva speaks of the dangers of a bad education we should listen. When he speaks on morality, you can tune out…..

  10. GR says:

    Don't we have a 2-tier system already?  Government vs Private?

  11. Anonymous says:

    How could it get any worse than it is now?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Tara needs to ask for help if she needs it, which she obviously does! Been calling her Ministry for two weeks straight and no one even bothers to answer the phone.

    • Anonymous says:

      09:03, There is a job for an unemployed person!

      • Anonymous says:

        I'm from the Chamber, err I mean C4C, Tara's phones could best be answered by outsourcing it to the private sector.

    • AnnaMouse says:

      Hey the people who work at LIME don't even bother to answer the phone half the time why would the Minister's office during the summer. Don't worry September soon come!

  13. Anonymous says:

    So…We should have all our children come out of school all at the same education level. Hmmm. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    The only bad old days I can remember is when you were premier or leader of Gov't business Mac. Before discussing eduaton get one yourself

    Whatever is going on now in the system has to change and change fast

    • Anonymous/ says:

      What a typical cns troll. Don't read the article and still focused on bashing McKeeva Bush after he has lost the election. Enough Bush statements. At least share something educational that we can all benefit from. People like you with your repeated statements make CNS look like you're reading a flimsy comic book.

      • Anonymous says:

        11:00, there is nothing good to say about Mac, that is not our fault, it's his.

      • Anonymous says:

        What a typical udp troll

      • Anonymous says:

        This reminds of the guy, or whatever it was, that did the you tube spot that went viral


        "Leave britney alooooone"

  15. Anyonehome says:

    If you are over 40 you are the reason these idiots in the LA are allowed to be there. Voters over forty make up almost 75 percent of votes cast over the years.

    Do we have to wait for an entire generation to die in order to have change that is positive?

    Do we have to wait until all of the over forty idiots drinking the PPM and UDP coolaid ……disolve into the past?

    I just don't understand why old people who will be long dead and gone are soooooooo set on leaving the country in shambles by electing their drinking buddies, school friends ……..people who are nothing but beating gums and no back bone.  

    What have we young people ever done to deserve this systemtic abuse of our country?

    More young people need to register to vote.

    If you under forty and you are elegible to vote, and you have not, you are also the reason these idiots are allowed to be there.

    Pull your head out of the MAC these are the bad ole days… Tara will call in sick for any meaning vote. OMOV – she'll be sick ……..she'll also be sick for her own bill …lets face it she may as well be plant or picture on the wall. She has no back bone. Snapper fillet at best



    All you idiots on CNS doing grammar check get a life….no one cares that you once won a spelling be a million years ago. I certainly don't have perfect grammar but this is an informal forum. If you are here for grammar perhaps you should join toast masters instead of wasting our time.


    • Anonymous says:

      07:33,"Spelling Bee".

    • Anonymous says:

      If you soooo angry bout us ova 40 ppl doin all the voting THEN GET YOUR DAMN YOUNG FRIENDS REGISTERED AND AT THE POLLS boy!!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Tara Rivers is over her head with an Education ministry loaded down with dead wood, dead beats and dead heads.

    • Sad elected silence from C4C says:

      And Winston too?  His involvement at the NWDA?  Zzzz. Has he or Tara spent ANY time actually there?

      Education: Today's printed newspaper editorial had it right for a change, not everyone gets a medal.  We need better education and accountable Administration.

      • Anonymous says:

        Winston/Tara – First priority should be given to students in their field of dreams when they return from college or university on Holidays -don't just send them to the NWDA!!! – Do you know how long it takes to register and find a job???  Our students are returning home, and no one at the Ministry or NWDA cares if they get a job or how long it takes, while on Holidays.   Please start planing for our students when they are on holidays!  Do you have a head count , qualification, where can they be placed, and with whom?

        You need to expand internally a Section for returning/temporary students where their statistics are kept when job seeking – everything about this is hog wash, and we have to get down to the real process for better accountability.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why does the government have to plan to find little University-educated Johnny a job?  Surely little Johnny, as an adult, can take his own welfare seriously and apply to those firms in his chosen field and court them himself?  If none exists, then little Johnny has the option of drafting a business plan (if it's even necessary!) and pitching it for gov't assistance loan to start a wholly-Caymanian owned business.  Please tell me where else in the world can you do that?  Little Johnny needs to demonstrate the minimum amount of self-directed initiative, long before the cries for government placement and assistance!  We cannot afford to pay the government to play the role of a career counselor or a loser placement service.

          • Anonymous says:

            What if Little Johnny is turned down and takes all of his/her holidays looking for a job? and only to learn,  you need five years experience: Will call you in three weeks:  You are over qualified: Your time is too short for hiring.  Please tell me who would enforce such actions -NO ONE  Too many employed in the Cayman Islands doing the jobs which our people can do as good, or even better. It does not matter how much demonstration and minimum amount of self-directed initiative they have it seems that they will always turn out to be in the category of Loser Placement Service.  I hope you are not one of us, as your words speak for itself.  

        • Anonymous says:

          Perhaps we should set up the NEEA instead?

          That's short for National Employment Entitlement Agency in case you were wondering.


      • Anonymous says:

        Winston talks the talk but his walk is all about him………….where will this walk take me, what can I get from it, how can I benefit. We were all so proud of him when he got in. Go back to business

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a defective Ministry – because no one in the world stops children from having or finishing there education here or overseas.  The Ministry has been writing letters for students to hand in their certificates and grades, but has never checked to find out how much time is left to "GRADUATE"  and receive that  "CERTIFICATE" The YNBP has been recalling students that have  6 and 9 months left to complete – what a shame!!! this has been done with no forward planning for those students. Please don't talk about the Secretariat etc. I believe they have rocks in their heads or missing that grey matter "called Common Sense".

      Common sense should have prevailed with Educational qualified persons; You are only pinning down the future of the Cayman Islands, "OUR CHILDREN". It means you do not care for them.  Many parents and students are out their financially suffering because of being cut off from the Young Nation Building Programme, when infact if you wanted to close the Programme just continue with what students that are there, and closed the gate.  I am convinced that no plans or   thoughts were put into such a critical & touching  subject.   

  17. Anonymous says:

    So says the man with the best education and highest moral standards in the islands!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Should i be worried that i agree with Mr Bush?  The whole C4C debacle of pushing the cayman islands down the ark academy route is nothing more than rich white caymanians playing with our education system.  Tara Rivers knows nothing about education yet she feels able to force through a system that is bound to lead to further social devision.  I had such great hopes when she was elected but now I know better.  




    • Anonymous says:

      Am I right in understanding that they are only going to try to implement ark academies in the primary schools?  If it is such a wonderfully tried and tested system why not try it first with our most problematic school namely John Grey?  Or is that too big a task for C4C and their puppets Tara Rivers and WinstonConnolly.  Congratulations Premier on showing absolutely no leadership on the issue.  I will not waste my vote next time around.  

  19. Anonymous says:

    Make school just like the real working world. 7 days a week and 10 hours a day. The 10 hours includes study time and planned organized extracurricular activities. For those that want religion on sat/sun send your child to a religious based school. Church and state should be separated. Petty crimes go down. Kids are too busy and tired. Parents can focus on work. Children have more time to focus on school. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I can't believe this got so many thumbs down..

      Maybe 10hrs/7days may be a bit much (not really when you include study and extracurricular)  but everything that 06:31 states is spot on.  There is too much to learn and not enough time to include religion. Let them learn that in Sunday school.

    • Anonymous says:

      All of you out there screaming for separation of Church and State do not seem to know the facts about education in Cayman and other countries  as well.  Expecially the United Stateand the UK. Do you realise that the Great Harvard University, Howard University ,Loyola University  and many more were started by churches?.  Did you know that what is now John Gray High School, Triple C School Cayman Prep & High  School, St. Ignatius Prep & High were/are owned and managed by churches?  You have the right notto believe in the benefits of churches, you have the right to not believe in God if that is your wish. I don't undestand why you spend so much time babbling about someone/something that you don't believe in. Why does it bother you so?

      • Anonymous says:

        And what does that have to do with anything? Religion as a study should be an elective anyway, not a mandatory part of the cirriculum. All of those universities do not have religion as mandatory to graduating.

        And who is screaming? Quit being so defensive and simmer down, fanatic.

      • Anonymous says:

        That's because the churches are loaded with money to start a profitable business called "education". 

    • Anonymous says:

      Since all subject areas are required to have updated editions,  can we do the same for the bible?