Nation e-Edition

New year, old problems

New year, old problems Carol Martindale

Thu, January 10, 2013 - 7:00 PM

New year, new rules.

A new year offers an opportunity for a fresh new start. It's a chance to wipe the slate clean, start anew and feel renewed and fresh.

So why are we back to some of the same old issues that dogged this country in 2012?

Case in point, the Alexandra School saga.

This issue has gone on for way too long and been allowed to fester. Unfortunately, it is a problem that is no longer contained within the walls of the St Peter institution, as its tentacles have now spread throughout  the entire school  system.

The reality is, this issue is no longer about Alexandra School, or even Jeff Broomes.

What I would say though is that Broomes seems to be a very powerful man in this society.

He has not only disrupted teaching and life at one school, but the entire secondary school education system.

Right now this country can ill afford to expend more time sorting out this sordid mess. There are bigger issues we are dealing with, namely the impending national strike triggered by the breakdown in talks between the Barbados Workers’ Union and the telecommunications giant LIME.

I believe the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) got more than it bargained for.

Initially, the union was pushing for the separation of Broomes from Alexandra School.

Instead, not only has Broomes been transferred  to Parkinson School, while the headteacher of that school, Orson Alleyne was shifted to the St Peter school, but 27 teachers have also been reassigned.

The BSTU has been meeting with the affected teachers at the start of the term. In fact, Alexandra students returned to school one day later than their counterparts at other secondary schools.

There have been further disruptions too with some of the teachers affected by the transfers reporting ill.

It is now time to resolve this issue for the sake of the children.

We have had the $500 000 commission of inquiry and recommendations in the Waterman Report.

Some of these have been acted upon, even though it can be argued that the timing is way off. The teachers could have been shifted at the start of the school year instead of at the start of the second term.

 That said, teachers need to get on with the job at hand.

Head back to the classrooms and teach.

We always stoutly argue that the children are the future and masquerade that the welfare of the nation' children is top priority.

This is not about Broomes, the BSTU, nor the teachers affected by the transfers.

This is about the children – our future.

Carol Martindale is the Nation's Online Editor

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Posted by Chris Wright 1 year, 9 months ago
Looking from the outside and reading about this problem and the ultimate solution, I would like to ask if a sociologist and/or clinical psychologist was included in the discussions to give some input to the effect the final decision would have on the children.

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Posted by Mary Yearwood 1 year, 9 months ago
Thank You! Ms. Martindale. I fully agree with everything you had to say in your column. However, the tentacles have spread much farther than throughout the entire school system in Barbados...they have been displaced in the Diaspora, as we have to read, almost daily now, about some other rediculous situation concerning this unfortunate saga. It is an embarrassment, as we are always so proud to be touting our standing in the world when it comes to education. To the average lay person it is mind boggling how the powers that be cannot even solve the problems of one school in an entire school system.

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Posted by Castro Inniss 1 year, 9 months ago
Ms Martindale, I sense your pain. Can you let the public know which of the Recommendations were followed and how so? An honest analysis of this may be very helpful. The full set of Recommendations - 15 in all - appear on page 16A of your own Midweek Nation of November 21, 2012 edition. The Commission's 11 Findings which inform these Recommendation appear on page 17A of the same edition. I urge you and your entire editorial staff to live up to your mandate of educating and enlightening the public. I'm confident that you believe that it is not a responsibility to be taken lightly.

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Posted by Snow Cone 1 year, 9 months ago
@Carol Martindale, “What I would say though is that Broomes seems to be a very powerful man in this society. He has not only disrupted teaching and life at one school, but the entire secondary school education system.” IS THIS A FACT OR AN OPINION? Inquiring minds would like to know. HMMM!!

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