EDITORIAL – An ideal leader for Cayman’s Education Council

Education leaders merit “honor roll” recognition for their inspired selection of Ernst & Young’s Dan Scott as chairman of the Cayman Islands government’s Education Council.

Mr. Scott is an ideal choice to bring much-needed new energy, integrity, accountability and the highest standards to the council’s work, and thereby to our schools.

In his “day job,” Mr. Scott serves as Ernst & Young managing partner for the Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands.

The son of legendary Cayman Brac educator Layman “Teacher” Scott (the Brac high school is named after him), Mr. Scott is intimately familiar with education as it relates to the demands of a 21st century workplace. He understands what skills and competencies our young people need in order to thrive in Cayman’s knowledge-based economy.

He is joined on the council by deputy chairwoman MLA Barbara Conolly, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Managing Director Cindy Scotland, and Maples attorneys Maxine Bodden and Christina Bodden. They and returning Education Council members should be empowered and prepared to make bold decisions to dramatically improve our schools and give our children the chance to excel – setting them up for a lifetime of success.

We agree with Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly in her wish for a council that is “less political” and more focused on getting results from Cayman’s education system – both public and private. The council must have the freedom and the explicit mandate to pursue any and all options that will ensure that Cayman’s students emerge from our schools able to compete in high-demand, high-income industries.

By virtue of his standing in the business community, wherever Mr. Scott chooses to lead on education matters, the private sector will likely follow. He is that highly regarded.

Cayman’s businesses, and those who lead them, have long been willing to make greater contributions to Cayman’s educational system. However, they have been somewhat reluctant because of government’s entrenched educational and administrative policies and bureaucracy.

Last year’s revision to Cayman’s education law unified the National Curriculum and opened the door to results-oriented innovations, including the establishment of charter schools. These two dynamics, together, offer fertile ground for much-needed qualitative change that will align our young Caymanian graduates with workforce needs.

A word of caution to government officials: Don’t expect the private sector to devote energy, resources and time to public education and then prohibit its leaders from having a meaningful say in how that education is delivered, while at the same time prohibiting their families from using the public school system. You can’t accept their equity (sweat and financial) while refusing their advice and their (non-Caymanian) children.

We, along with hundreds of local educators, applauded Minister O’Connor-Connolly’s fiery vow to shake up our government schools system – which for far too long has failed far too many Cayman students.

Mr. Scott is a highly successful businessman, a truly devoted family man, a man of unquestionable character and integrity. He will bring a strategic perspective to the challenge of overhauling a massive and sclerotic educational bureaucracy, and should act as a practical-minded complement to Ms. O’Connor-Connolly’s passionate advocacy for teachers and Cayman’s youth.

He’s just the man for the job.

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