Authorship of doctored report partially clarified

| 07/08/2014

(CNS): In the fallout of revelations that a report on the behaviour of students at public schools was doctored tocut out many of the critical findings of the author, a former member of staff at the Education Ministry, Favourita Blanchard, issued a statement Wednesday in which she categorically denies being the person who amended the document. Shortly afterwards, the chief officer in the ministry issued her own statement in which she states that Blanchard did nothing wrong but fell short of saying she did not make the changes, only that she did not do so on her own. Without saying who had, in fact, cut out large parts of the critical report, Mary Rodrigues said that the consultant “actively sought the input” of both Blanchard and the ministry’s former chief policy adviser, Dr Jo Wood, who had oversight of the report.

In 2012 consultant Dr David Moore was hired by the ministry to do a study of the behaviour of students and how bad behaviour is managed. The resulting 2012 report was heavily redacted by someone, which resulted in a second sanitised version of the report in 2013. Among the many issues raised by Moore and his team was the sexualised behaviour of some primary school children and highly disruptive behaviour by a small group of students, particularly at the John Gray High School.

A long and comprehensive list of recommendations for the schools, the Department of Education Services and the ministry to adopt was also slashed to a few points.

The existance of both reports and fact that the initial document had been drastically altered was revealed during the recent sitting of Finance Committee. During the responses to questions in Finance Committee, and subsequent press coverage, the involvement of Blanchard, a former senior evaluator at the ministry was mentioned by Rodrigues.

“Following the recent press reportings on the Ministry of Education’s Behaviour Report, I was
named by the press in some instances, and in others it was implied that, I am the person who amended, edited, doctored (and other descriptive terms), the said report," Blanchard said in her statement.

"I wish to categorically state that, as a person of high ethical and moral standards, I would never change the content or indeed the findings of a report written by someone else and I deny any accusation of my having done so. These suggestions are false and indeed, libellous.

"I wrote to the Ministry of Education when this story was first reported in thepress, seeking their assistance to publicly clear my good name. This entire situation has caused me undue stress and a stain on my professional integrity. I am requesting the press retract these statements immediately as they are without foundation.

"The Ministry of Education has assured me that they will be issuing a statement to clarify this situation and to clear my good name and I trust that this is done expeditiously and that the matter of any involvement by me in 'altering or doctoring' this report can be laid to rest," Blanchard stated.

In response, Rodrigues issued a statement on behalf of the ministry "to set the record straight that Mrs Favourita Blanchard did not unilaterally change the draft inspection report."

She said, "Mrs Blanchard, the only employee in the inspections unit at the time, was instructed by the Chief Officer to liaise with the consultant on any editing to be made to the draft report, to ensure the report met the quality standards required of all inspection reports."

Confirming that Blanchard did nothing wrong, but without exonerating anyone else from the ministry or clarifying who had written the amended document, Rodrigues said she "was only undertaking her duties as instructed by the Chief Officer. In all her time working with the Ministry, Ms Blanchard’s work was of the highest moral and ethical standards."

She continued, "It is important to clarify that from the very outset it was the expectation that the consultant would engagewith the local team throughout the drafting process, and that he actively sought the input of both Mrs Blanchard and the Chief Policy Adviser from the Ministry, who was assigned in an oversight capacity in the absence of a Chief Inspector."

Commenting on the work of Dr Moore, whose report had been heavily slashed, the CO said she "would also like to make clear that in no way is the credibility of the consultant being challenged, as he has many years of distinguished service and expertise, and his services were very much valued by the Ministry of Education." 

Relevant stories on CNS:

Report quality challenged (25 June 2014)

Secret report slams teachers (23 June 2014)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Local News

Comments (27)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Are we really expected to believe that the Chief Officer was totally unaware of a revised report? If that is the case it points to high incompetence and she should be removed from her post with immediate effect. As parents and voters we need to keep the pressure on to keep this issue at the forefront because it is totally unacceptable!! We will need the assistance of the press as well to keep the story going. We will never have a quality education product with thistype of leadership how absolutely distateful and selfish that instead of addressing the very serious issues we instead think it best to lie and alter a report to suit our purposes I mean come on!!! I want to see the original report  in its entirety and I want the Chief Officer fired and anyone else who was directly/indirectly involved with doctoring the report.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another classic example of locals in high positions hiding behind expats. When are these types ever going to pack it in and admit responsibility to anything?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Enough with the smoke and mirrors and sickening obfuscation that characterises pretty much every Ministry of Education statement of late. I want a straight answer to the question of who savaged the original report because it made the ministry look bad. Who was it?

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Education Ministry is, since its creation, a huge friggin' joke, filled with "lookin' good" spin-masters and self interest.. And who created it all? Well, my friends, look back to our present premier's time as eduction minister. What a load of nonsense that is.

     

    .

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nice example for our children. And you are running our education department…

    • Anonymous says:

      Can we say "cover up" as usual…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Our kids are told NOT TO CHEAT on homework, exams etc. (which is correct) yet the individual in charge of Education appears to have cheated on this report by redacting keys components. This is SHAMEFUL and if she had any ounce of dignity, she should step down for such dishonesty. What will Franz, the Minister and Governmet have to say about this. She has also lied to and misled the Members of the LA with deception. Hopefully Ezzard and Arden are preparing their own sanctions against her even if no more than exposing the issue further on Tuesday.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Rodrigues said she [Blanchard] "was only undertaking her duties as instructed by the Chief Officer." So Rodrigues is responsible for doctoring the report then…

    • Anonymous says:

      Who ever doctored this report  needs to be terminated  immediatly. This type of action  is exacly whats ruining our country. To play around with our childrens education is just wrong. Tara Rivers needs to step up and do the right thing and clean house. We cannot accpet this action and sweep it under the carpet.Cayman, this is serious sitution. 

    • Anonymous says:

      It would appear so. But getting herto admit she did will, believe me, be all but impossible. Expect a spectacular spin on the above quote.

  7. Michel says:

    Our Education Dept. never admit they did something so let's pick on someone else. How about HR in the Education now ther"s a good one for you. They ALWAYS cover each other up and now there"s a mountain growing. A very strong members only attitude there and the most unprofessionnal service I have ever seen. Many bad apples in the lot and really difficult  to tell which one .You scratch my back and I scratch yours and wer'e all covered. A click there and would not last long in the private sector with their attitude. One word of advise, don't get on their back side as it won't take long to see their true colors, Many skeletons in some closets. God Bless.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you are confusing the education department with the ministry. Those in the ministry are the ones spinning things, including reports, with disasterous results, chief of which is a loss of credibility. I mean, how can we take at face value anything those in the ministry tell us? The education department is headed by the chief education officer, but unlike her predecessors the current post-holder is all but invisible. I'm not sureexactly what her role (if any) is as regards the running of our education system and schools. Anybody any idea?

  8. Anonymous Gowerment says:

    Wha wrong wid the Gowerment fixxing tings to suit their own likkle fool fool agenda Dey always be lying to us any how Whats New???? Can we blame Mckeeva for this one too ?????Poor old Cayman run by an Incompetent and inept and corrupt political Mafia .

  9. Anyonehome says:

     Rodrigues issued a statement on behalf of the ministry "to set the record straight that Mrs Favourita Blanchard did not unilaterally change the draft inspection report."

    Unilaterally is the key word here………………such a clever lady!!! Reminds me of hearing the fist shaking Bill Clinton say 'I did not have …'…………the lack of use of contrations is one of the many indicatiors of guilt ………….just saying.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      exactly! Well said. Synonyms of "unilaterally" are: indivisually, singly, seperately, solo, alone, one-sidedly.

      So, thank you Mary for clarifying that Mrs. Blanchard did NOT amend the report on her own!

      Hint hint, this was a team effort.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Surely they should all shuffle away from the jobs in shame?

    • Anonymous says:

      Far from it, look for them smiling into the camera for the first  "looking good" photo op  It's a huge joke, okay?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Show us the metadata. 

    • Anonymous says:

      One can imgaine the conversation:

      Ministry of Education Official "What is metadata?"

      IT 101 "Well it is the information embedded in a document that let's you know who did what with it when"

      Ministry of Education Official "Oh, I see.  How can you destroy metadata?"

  12. Anonymous says:

    Apart from everything else, why did the ministry even have a "senior evaluator"  and a "chief policy advisor" if they were outsourcing the evaluation work to a consultant and doctoring the findings anyway? XXXX

    I'm starting to think it would be better and cheaper to do away with the ministry all together and send all the kids to private school in Switzerland. They would actually get an education, it would probably be cheaper and all these ministers, civil servants and consultants could go and get real jobs.

    • Hear hear says:

      We SHOULD sent any child who wants to board away.  Think of it, they will get the education of the expats and not have to fight for local jobs when they return. Solves both education and immigration problems.  Oh wait, then what will the politicians have to play with?

  13. Knot S Smart says:

    Ok we were in charge of the report but we dont know who changed parts of it or whenor why…

    We suspect that someone broke into our offices at night while we were sleeping and made whatever changes…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Apart from everything else, why did the ministry even have a "senior evaluator"  and a "chief policy advisor" if they were outsourcing the evaluation work to a consultant and doctoring the findings anyway? It would be nice if Favourita could let the country in on the secret of who did amend the report, and at whose insistence instead of just saying "it wasn't me".

    I'm starting to think it would be better and cheaper to do away with the ministry all together and send all the kids to private school in Switzerland. They would actually get an education, it would probably be cheaper and all these ministers, civil servants and consultants could go and get real jobs.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive………………..

  16. Anonymous says:

    I glad we have everything straightened out now.