Fixing education together

  • Michael Weeks

    Michael Weeks

“Fix the problem, not the blame.”

— Japanese proverb

With the new year only a few days old, for many of us it is a time for reflection and the opportunity to take a new approach in our lives — a new approach that benefits ourselves and those we love.

If we genuinely love Bermuda, we must reflect on whether the old approach, the old way of doing things, is truly benefiting ourselves and the island that we love.

For too long on the issues that matter most, the focus has been more on attacking each other than on attacking the problems at hand. We have torn each other down, patted ourselves on the back and cheered each other on for giving each other a “good flogging”.

If we are honest, we all recognise that political point-scoring, finger-pointing and giving out “good floggings” have not produced better outcomes for Bermudians, especially in education.

No press releases, press conferences, social-media posts or voice notes attacking, criticising or destroying have moved the dial one millimetre for our children.

What moves the dial is agreeing on shared values, shared goals, getting in the trenches and doing the work necessary to produce better outcomes for our children.

Shared values such as:

• Believing our students have a right to find joy in learning and be equipped with tools that maximise their potential, produce successful citizens in education, careers and life while having access to safe, clean, well maintained and modern facilities

• Believing that our educators are valued and should have the training, tools, resources and modern facilities to do the jobs they love

• Believing that parents should have the support and resources to guide their children successfully through their school years, and that they are as responsible and accountable as teachers, schools and the education system for the outcomes of their children

The shared goals that are laid out in Plan 2022 for education such as:

• Increased academic rigour and student engagement

• Ensuring career, college and workforce readiness

• Enhancing the quality of teacher practice and system leadership

• Improving infrastructure and instructional resources

Getting in the trenches and doing the work necessary to produce better outcomes for our children such as:

• Volunteering at and supporting our schools, whether we have children in the schools or not

• Stepping up our game as parents to ensure that our children are encouraged, their successes heralded, their struggles addressed, and that we are doing our part to make their learning experience easier, not harder

• Supporting our parent teacher associations

• Supporting our teachers

The definition of insanity is described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If we continue to fix blame while failing to fix the problem, the outcomes will be the same as they have always been.

Moreover, it will be our children, the next generation of Bermudians who will be the ones made to suffer for our short-sightedness and stubbornness.

Together, we can each make positive new year’s resolutions.

That we will attack the problem and not each other.

That we will get behind shared values and shared goals that make sense and benefit our children.

That we will move beyond words, get in the trenches and start doing the hard work in our schools with our children, teachers and parents.

That we will set aside the old way of doing things and take a new approach that benefits ourselves and the ones we love: our children.

Michael Weeks, a government backbencher, is the former Minister of Social Development and Sport and the MP for Pembroke East Central (Constituency 16)

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Published Jan 15, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 15, 2019 at 9:42 am)

Fixing education together

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