November 19, 2019

The Editor Speaks: Is ‘satisfactory’ good enough?

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Normally the word ‘satisfactory’ means ‘good enough’. Satisfies all standards.

However, when it comes to education a ‘satisfactory’ grade in inverted commas is not the same meaning without them.

When a school gets a ‘satisfactory’ grade it actually means “Well, it’ll do.”

The reason is when education is the grade there are three others in front of ‘satisfactory’. They are “excellent”, through “very good” and “good” to “satisfactory” and then “weak” and thence to “poor” and “very poor”.

I, therefore, contend “satisfactory” where education is concerned, means little better than the level beneath it. It means the opposite of the Webster’s definition of satisfactory.

You may ask why am I going on about this?

have been doing the rounds of scrutinising both government and public schools here.

The latest reports they have published include Layman E. Scott Sr High School on Cayman Brac and in . Both schools were rated “satisfactory” overall. In some areas they did receive a grade of “good”. In other areas it received the ‘weak’ grade.

John Gray High School, also received a “satisfactory” grading overall whilst obtained the damning “weak”.

What is interesting is that students most of the time gave a different assessment to the inspectors. However, even there most of the time the students were divided. Half would grade ‘good’ whilst others ‘poor’.

So is it the teachers who are to blame? Yes. It is but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

If the pay the teachers receive isn’t good or even adequate you are not going to get good teachers. So the government must shoulder most of the blame.

In the US the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) came up with five steps for lawmakers to improve education. These are:

Acknowledge and address overcrowding.
Make funding schools a priority.
Address the school-to-prison pipeline.
Raise standards for teachers.
Put classroom-running and curriculum-building decisions in the hands of the community.

Increasing teachers pay is being addressed here but I have yet to hear of much else being done and the school-to-prison pipeline has not been addressed at all.

Therefore when it comes to the grading of government’s role in education I say it doesn’t even get a ‘satisfactory’ grade.

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