Connolly: Why I do not send my children to public school

Former education councilor Winston Connolly has acknowledged he does not send his own children to government schools because he does not believe standards are high enough.

He said the level of government schools needs to improve so that parents will choose private schools only on religious grounds.Mr. Connolly, speaking during a Legislative Assembly debate last week on school capacity, called for the “desegregation of schools” and the opening of new charter schools.

“I am a member of this government and I have chosen not to put my children in the school that I went to, which is Savannah Primary. I have chosen to put them in another school. Let’s just get it out there.

“As a parent, I want to ensure my children have the best access to education, intervention and all the other things that we are not currently providing, in my opinion, in government schools.

“I can’t take that chance and I won’t apologize to anybody for what I do as a parent for my kids.”

He challenged legislators on all sides to work together to create a government school system that parents would be happy to send their children to.

“As a parent, I want to ensure my children have the best access to education, intervention and all the other things that we are not currently providing, in my opinion, in government schools.”

“I think the litmus test for all of us in this room is that we should try to say we need to go back to the days of when the choice between a public and private school was either religion or the different veins that you are going to, either the U.K. or the U.S. Until we get to that stage, we haven’t accomplished what we should be setting out to do in education.”

Mr. Connolly, an independent legislator who served with the Progressives-led government as a councilor in the Ministry of Education before switching to the opposition benches, said a bipartisan plan is needed that would integrate the children of Caymanians and foreign workers in new schools.

He said Cayman needs to partner with the private sector to grow school capacity and to improve the standards in schools generally.

“We need to desegregate our schools,” he said. “It is ludicrous to think that when our kids finally interact at 18 or 19 in the workplace that they are suddenly going to come together and hold hands and understand each other culturally. We are setting ourselves up for a lot of social problems.”

He added, “We need to add capacity. The things we want to do as a country will no doubt include more people coming here, especially the type of people we want to attract. Not all people coming to these shores can afford private schools. Some of them will want and need to put their children into public schools.

“Private schools are at capacity, they have waiting lists; public schools are nearing capacity.

“We don’t, as a country, have the money to build the school infrastructure that we need and to replace some that are in bad need of replacing.

“We need to continue discussions about public-private partnerships and actually bring them to fruition.

“Cayman is still a very attractive place, but our education system needs to be equally attractive.”

116
8

7 COMMENTS

  1. I will not disagree with MLA Conolly’s statement that he wants the best education for his children. I am sure every parent want the same for their child.
    This was on my wish list when I had my children but although I could not afford sending my children to private schools, I ruled them with an iron fist through Public schools; and although I had to wait until they completed High school before I could afford to give them higher education, I am today a proud parent.
    My focus on education in our schools is to say NOT ENOUGH IS BEING DONE. by the Education system and by parents. I am leaving the teachers out of this, because “their hands are tied” Of course teachers would like to carry out, exercise and enforce all school rules and regulations to the highest and fullest degree, but who is preventing the enforcement? Its the Parents and the Education system.
    Examine ourselves how it is dealt with at home when your child comes home and throws a tantrum because he or she has been reprimanded for abusing school rules and regulations? Instead of reprimanding our child in a big way for being wrong, we call someone at the Education department and throw double tantrum, encouraging the child’s behavior. How does the education system handle it? Political sacredness trips in and everything is swept under the floor.
    NOW, how shall I agree with the third paragraph from the last of this report which says:.
    “We do not as a country have the money to build the school infrastructure that we need and to replace some that are in bad need of replacing”
    This is our biggest problem right here. We have school children who cannot afford lunches, parents cannot afford to buy regulation uniforms, children going to school without breakfast; many parents do not have good sleeping accommodation for their children; parents and teachers are salvaging writing, and copy paper, some schools do not even have enough toilet paper, yet we are being “Show off” in saying that we can support other countries with thousands of dollars and necessities. Mind you nothing wrong with this; I am definitely one to applaud when we can help anyone in need, and I am very pleased, but “Charity begins at home”
    Our schools need strict rules and regulations adhered to, and this begins at the home and the Education department and it is time we buckle it up that every parent can brag of our public school system.

    46

    6
  2. “We need to desegregate our schools,” he said. “It is ludicrous to think that when our kids finally interact at 18 or 19 in the workplace that they are suddenly going to come together and hold hands and understand each other culturally. We are setting ourselves up for a lot of social problems.”

    You need to de-segregate the country…period.

    At least one politician has come out and used the relevant term that applies…even though he is using it in reference to the education system.

    Unfortunately, that system is only a reflection of the broader system by which the Cayman Islands is peopled and populated and if the only purpose being short-term financial gain, then the law of diminishing returns has already set in…that is, the returns on an investment or decision is now far being outstripped by its cost.

    This cost is being measured in the lives….and futures…of the very children of an entire population, both local and foreign.

    How could it not be possible that divisions would continue into adult life, for children of two distinctly different communities who are kept apart, not only by immigration laws but also by the divisions of culture that are enforced upon them ?

    And, as it would seem, those most responsible for keeping the barriers in place for their own political and financial gain are the ones suffering the most from it.

    How ironic !

    37

    1
  3. When we talk about desegrate our schools , why would he know that this is necessary now ? But not before. Did he know that was a problem and all the other problems in public schools why he decided to send his kids to private school . Why didn’t he address the Public education system before now , sense he knows all the problems today . I am sure that if he had brought the Public Education problem to the LA like he’s trying to bring it to us , the problems would have been fixed by now ,

    Do most of the politicians send their kids to Private Schools ? Then could this be where segregation begin , when they think that their kids are better than our kids , and that public Education should be what it is .

    12

    12
  4. MLA Conolly is absolutely right that we need to improve our public schools.
    Also that they should be desegregrated.
    Not only is sending children to private schools is a massive expense but it is setting up “them and us” thinking for the future.

    I certainly can’t blame him for wanting the best possible start in life for his own children. How wonderful it would be if all the children in this country received a similar quality education.

    17

    0
  5. Ron

    Your comments are fair if you think that Mr. Conolly is politicising education at a time when it would be convenient for his re-election.

    I don’t interpret it that way; if that was the case, he would be praising the public education system to high heaven, even if his words rang hollow to those who know the real story.

    I interpret Mr. Conolly’s comments here as an attempt at damage control for his re-election campaign IF the question and issue should arise about him schooling his kids privately.

    What I do respect is his candidness and honesty about the matter…and at another level.

    This is a young man that has the vision and foresight that many of his older political colleagues…and rivals, do not possess or portray.

    For the Cayman Islands to move forward into the new era….this division of ‘local’ and ‘foreign’ will have to cease to be the political platform….and policy basis for how Cayman’s society operatesl; a country of 100 square miles + the lesser islands and approx. 60, 000 people of multiple nationalities cannot survive by the divide-and-rule method…it will eventually tear the Cayman Islands apart.

    The current situation regarding the education of the country’s children is a perfect example of the weaknesses of the current approach and I appreciate Mr. Conolly for coming forward and highlighting this.

    14

    1
  6. Ricardo.

    In my comment I am talking about Mr. Connolly not being like his older political colleagues . When they were around they didn’t keep It in their minds they brought it to the LA , and they thought about everyone , not only their own kids . To be honest in what I really think about what Mr. Connolly is doing now that he has brought the public education issue to the public attention , he’s launching his campaign platform .

    1

    5

Comments are closed.