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Thought To Ponder
It is precisely because so much human betterment has been shown to be possible in recent centuries that the continuing imperfection of the world places a moral duty on humanity to allow economic evolution to continue.
The Nassau Guardian”s front-page story “Dismal exam scores continue” (August 8, 2012, page 1) focused public attention on one of the country’s greatest problems...too many of the nation’s public school leavers are illiterate and do not earn a high school diploma. A logical conclusion is the “Department of Education is a failure”.
Changing the Status Quo
The Minister of Education, in his review of this year’s BGCSE exams (The Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education), described the continuing dismal state of public education, the status quo, and the limited progress being made. To his credit, and as reported by the Guardian, he defined the problem and did not make excuses nor criticize the validity of the exams.
In the recent election the Prime Minister promised to spend huge amounts on education; now the Minister of Education promises to increase dramatically the number of English and Math courses to address the illiteracy problem. The ultimate test, as always, is “what do students actually learn?”.
The overriding problem is the Government’s public schools. Yes...as a whole...they are a failure and public education reform seems like an impossible objective. Unfortunately, that may be true.
Let’s look at two examples. In the U.S. the two worst performing public school systems have been Detroit, Michigan, and Washington D.C..
The city’s public school system fought school reform right up to the bitter end. That’s when the money ran out and the state took it over. It is now installing a system of privately operated charter schools.
Then the anti-reform stakeholders...the local and national teachers unions, the bureaucrats and administrators, business contractors, politicians and voters aligned with them...mobilized and voted Adrian Fendy and his Chancellor out of office at the next election.
Here are three ideas that can only be implemented over time. The DOE can...
The Political BarrierSystematically implementing these ideas over time will be difficult simply because of the political strength of the present stakeholders who “benefit” from the status quo.
But the CPAL Economic Report “One barrier to doing business in The Bahamas - government” (The Guardian, August 8, 2012, page 8) identifies the biggest barrier, a “Poorly Educated Workforce.”