Another day yet in motherhood

Todays WomanMy daughter got a bursary Barbados. There! Everybody knows.

I think it is better for you all to stop asking me, then looking at me with that dumb stare when I give the answer.

I am not surprised by the result of the examination. I had given my daughter the option of not sitting the Common Entrance. I had told her it was not set for children who learnt like her.

Perhaps, I should be proud of her bravery for having persevered –– but mothers do not make their children walk on nails to see how strong they are. My daughter confided in her brother she was trying to prove that perhaps she could go to high school like anyone else, in spite of her dyslexia.

Again, I ask: what is the purpose of keeping the Common Entrance Examination? Those children who did exceptionally well were doing so for years. Those children who did not do well were not doing so for years too.

In my daughter’s case, she has been scoring 30s or 20s on criterion reference testing consistently. She is diagnosed as dyslexic; and any intervention she received was facilitated privately.

In other words, it would have been possible for my daughter to begin criterion reference testing at 25 per cent and end it at 25 per cent, and the state would still have given her a bursary, like it did, without so much as a systematic effort to improve her.      

My daughter cried uncontrollably when the results were released. She did not cry because we had not gone through the likely outcomes; she did because the results were announced in a whole school setting and the plan we had developed was not allowed to work.

Each child’s name was called in turn, and my daughter’s and three other children’s names were not. They were then informed in a group session at the end they had been given bursaries.

The plan we had developed was that she would simply tell her friends she was going to private school. However, she got a taste of what the real objective of the Common Entrance is: to separate the “sheep” from the “high-flyers”. I remain livid about the insensitivity of this approach to announcing the results.

We just do not get it in Barbados. We just refuse to create space in this society for people who learn differently. We like to tear people down, not build them up; and the Common Entrance Examination is the first place we reaffirm, maintain and perpetuate the culture of shaming and “better-than-ness”.

Ironically, we shame people for trying and failing, but we do not sanction slackness and lewdness in Barbados.   

Has the Barbados Broadcast Authority been disbanded? My son and I needed to get some supplies for his end of term examinations and projects. We ventured out about 4:30 p.m., and we happened to be flipping stations to try to avert the so-called “calypso” music.

Mark you, calypso does exist. Grynner’s offering this year is a tribute and a testimony to its beauty. However, past his, I am hard-pressed to find two more offerings which I would purchase on any kind of compilation for posterity.

I quickly add I am a reggae baby through and through, and pay little attention to calypso. Having said that, good music is good music, and bad music is bad music.

Surprisingly, the offensive lyrics were not in the local calypsos. The rain was falling, and there was a rap and ballad session.

My son gave me a dumbfounded look as the radio belted out a song about a man who had his “baby mama and side chick kissing”. It was followed by a male voice explaining how he wanted to “get [a woman] a drink and slide her panties to the side”.

I would feel funny writing such things into a column for general public consumption usually. However, I needed to outline to you these words I heard on the radio during peak time, when commuters include both children and adults. When did we allow our standards to become so lax?

Public radio is not supposed to be where we go when we need raunchy lyrics, or lyrics particularly to set an explicitly intimate mood. I am disappointed with the content of radio in Barbados.

Many of the standards which I learnt as a student of broadcasting years ago seem to have been abandoned. The job of radio announcer is redundant with the disc jockey now performing both roles. While I have no difficulty with this in theory, when the disc jockey cannot read coherently a public service announcement or a newscast, to my mind, there is a problem.

Additionally, some of the disc jockeys make the lyrics played in songs more prominent by treating their radio sessions exactly as they do sessions in fetes. They shout through the songs and develop narratives that make the already explicit lyrics even more vivid.   This cannot be an acceptable state of affairs for Barbados.

Some of the places where the music originate from do not play those songs on mainstream radio.

There are a number of stations in Barbados, each said to be catering to a specific market. Notwithstanding, I notice the broadcast standards are dropping consistently, regardless of the station market being catered to.

I am never sure about how we prepare ourselves to host the tourists who we so boldly state are the mainstay of Barbados. I am never sure how we rationalize a multimillion-dollar bus fare scheme to shield our schoolchildren from unwholesome influences when the lyrics coming through their earphones are smut.

There are so many big problems in Barbados that the little ones are sliding off the burners. The thing is that the little things often have a great impact, either making things feel finished and refined, or loose and unfinished. The environment in which a person lives and works daily does much to influence whom the person becomes over time.

Our collective approach to success and our collective standards, as outlined in public spaces such as broadcasting, shape our children and, by extension, the citizens of Barbados. 

(Marsha Hinds-Layne is a full-time mummy and part-time lecturer in communications at the University of the West Indies.
Email mhindslayne@gmail.com)

53 Responses to Another day yet in motherhood

  1. Ann Batey
    Ann Batey June 10, 2016 at 11:02 am

    There is no shame in private school, I went to one and am proud of it

    Reply
    • Kearn Williams
      Kearn Williams June 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      True Ann. I attended private school, and so did my daughter in her earlier years. But if I to do it all over again, both my children would go to private school from beginning to end

      Reply
    • Ann Batey
      Ann Batey June 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      Me too, my children did in Barbados as well

      Reply
    • Ann Batey
      Ann Batey June 10, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      My son and daughter wete also dyslexic and I had to pay for specialist treatment and do a lot of hard work with them as well

      Reply
    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne June 10, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Thankfully Ann, I am in a position to do that for my daughter but let us admit that every mother cannot..if we are spending state funds everychild should benefit

      Reply
    • Ann Batey
      Ann Batey June 10, 2016 at 2:12 pm

      Very true, it was a struggle for me but I do agree with you

      Reply
  2. Mhizz Joan Moore
    Mhizz Joan Moore June 10, 2016 at 11:21 am

    since when schools does announce who pass an who get bursary doh

    Reply
    • Kathyann Best
      Kathyann Best June 10, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Years now. It was done when I sat and that was in ’92.

      Reply
    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      Where did you read that the school announced that she got a bursary??

      Reply
    • Mhizz Joan Moore
      Mhizz Joan Moore June 10, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      What is your problem

      Reply
    • Mhizz Joan Moore
      Mhizz Joan Moore June 10, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      I read the article, apparently you didn’t

      Reply
    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Madam, I was asking a simple question. Your reaction to it shows you have the problem.
      Marsha wrote: each child’s name was called in turn, and my daughter’s and three other children’s names were not. They were then informed in a group session at the end they had been given bursaries.
      This means that while the school did tell them where they were going, it was not done in front of the entire school, like it was done for those who passed. By doing it with a group of her peers with like results, she would have felt some small comfort that she was not alone in her disappointment.

      Reply
    • Mhizz Joan Moore
      Mhizz Joan Moore June 10, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      stupes

      Reply
    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      @Ashley, I’ve never heard of a school calling out all the results like that,either. Different strokes, I guess. I suggest parents come together at the PTA and put a stop to it if they believe it to be a bad practice. Everything a school practises isn’t written in stone, sometimes it isn’t even in the best interest of the children. Schools are run by humans who err and make poor judgements like everyone else.

      Reply
    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Round of applause to Mhizz Joan Moore for the succinct, intelligent, mature response. Yah got me beat.

      Reply
    • Arte Maria Benn
      Arte Maria Benn June 10, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      They’ve been doing the school call out for decades now.

      Reply
    • Juju Reds
      Juju Reds June 10, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      Some schools announce the results at assembly, ranked according to how the results were sent them, from Harrison College to Alma Parris, etc.

      Reply
  3. N Day June 10, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Mrs. Hinds-Layne, your daughter can be a success with the right guidance in secondary school. I have a teenage son who was diagnosed with dysgraphia (a branch of dyslexia) and he is a student in second form at one of the top secondary schools and he has been performing better than some of the students who do not have a learning disability.
    From the age of 5 he received intervention for dysgraphia, first at a private institution and then a public one.
    I don’t agree with the announcing publicly at school of the performance of the children. My son attended private primary school and when the results were back the children were given an option if to open their results at school or not. My son chose to give his to me in the vehicle when I collected him.

    Reply
  4. Angela Maria
    Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    If she had scored 100 % in Math and 100% in English, would you have declined having the newspapers sing her praises with relevant photographs, out of consideration for those students who failed the exam and were assigned bursaries?
    Would you have told her school NOT to allow her a valedictorian speech out of consideration for her peers who were embarrassed with their results? Would you have had a problem with how her school announced the results??
    I very much doubt that.
    If she did not know the results before hand then I don’t believe that the school should have announced them, either way they did not announce her results or placement publicly. They told her in a private setting among other students with similar placements, she could have gone to her friends after and say: My name wasn’t called because I am going to a private school.
    Anyway, how it was done embarrassed her and I am sorry for that. It is my belief that the BSSEE is an outdated and ignorant method of “sorting” children into sec schools. I hope the private school is one with staff that is trained to teach dyslexia. Wishing her all the best. At least she went into the exam and tried her best.

    Reply
    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne June 10, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      My dear….I have 2 sons who were both in the top ten the years they did the exam…one was actually the number 2 boy in his year….it was never a song and dance….

      I am opposed to the exam on principle….not because I am ashamed of my daughter.

      Reply
    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 3:00 pm

      No one is saying you are ashamed of her; there is no reason to be. Rather, I’m asking, if the shoe was on the other foot would you have immediately considered those children like your daughter? The ones with a learning disability which resulted in a “failed” exam? Or are you only now sympathising because you can relate at a personal level?
      At a graduation, there is a marked difference between the accolades and prizes a top scorer gets and what the slow learner gets (unless the latter excelled in sports). Have any of us with “bright” or “average” children ever stopped to think how the low scorers feel to publicly receive less of everything, or are we too busy being proud of our children who did well, to notice ? Does this make us insensitive? Or human?
      I don’t believe the school was insensitive regarding its behaviour towards your daughter, perhaps if they had publicly announced her marks, then yes. They did what society always does: highlight the “successes”, even at the discomfort of the “failures”. If your daughter had passed to Queens, I doubt you would have given a moment’s thought as to how the results were revealed. You are extra sensitive to the issue because it concerns a beloved.
      Anyway, I am glad for all of our children that that ridiculous rite of passage is over. Time to look forward. Your daughter will continue to shine, because she seems to have fortitude. Best wishes.

      Reply
    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne June 10, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      Yes…I have forever considered the children like my daughter….even before my daughter was my daughter.

      Reply
  5. Mark Fenty
    Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Albert Einstein suffered with dyslexia, but had what many in the academic world regarded as the greatest mind in human history. So because one suffers with an intellectual disability, it doesn’t mean that he or she cannot excel academically.

    Reply
    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne June 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm

      I am in no way suggesting that they cannot Mark….I am suggesting they need support and the benefit of the system to achieve….

      Some manage on their own..others need more..

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      I agree.

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Marsha Layne, in most states in America, once a child has been identified with a learning disability, the school district gives that child the resources needed to help it achieve it academic goals. But of course we are talking about America verse Barbados; a country with a lot more resources than small Barbados though Barbados ranks number one in the world as far as literacy is concerned.

      Reply
    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne June 10, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      No no Mark….we do not rank number 1 in literacy.. Actually I’d say we could be as low as 45% functional literacy right now…

      Agreed we are scarce of resources….but we can allocate the ones we currently have in a much better fashion….

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Marsha Layne, with all due respect, could you please name the source or sources where you have ascertained your information? This comes as a shocking surprise to me because I haven’t heard nor have I read of your projected percentage, and I am having a little difficulty coming to terms with that number.

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Marsha Layne, according to the United Nations Development Programme Report, Barbados ranks 4th in the world in literacy.

      Reply
    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne June 10, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      That was since 1998….would love to see the ranking now…

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      Ok

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      I think it is number one

      Reply
  6. Angela Maria
    Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I suggest the Ministry of Education mail home the results to parents. In fact, I would also like them to stop sending the “choice of school” forms to the schools for us to check over for mistakes; I am not a secretary. Ask the schools for the students’ addresses, mail the forms to the parents, give the parents a deadline to return them to the MINISTRY OF EDUCATION. After the exam, when the results come back, mail them directly to the parents. End of story.

    Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Angela, what is the matter with choice of schools forms?

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Angela, what is the matter with choice of schools forms? In Barbados the Common Entry Examination is an examine which promotes academic segregation, because here in States kids at the Grade School/Primary School level take what is called Smarter Balance Examination, and this examination is taken to determine where a student is at before he or she enters Secondary School/ High School, and not for admittance to the prestigious schools like Harrison’s College or Queen’s College as in the case of Barbados.

      Reply
    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Did I say something was the matter with them?

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Ok

      Reply
    • Mark Fenty
      Mark Fenty June 10, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      In America you cannot segregated kids of the basis on of A, B and C Forms/classes, as in or was in the case of Barbados.

      Reply
    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      So remedial classes don’t exist in the USA?? Not true!!

      Reply
    • Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
      Cherylann Bourne-Hayes June 10, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      They do but the kids are still in the class with regular ed students and go separately to the lab for the extra help. There is also an additional teacher in the class to help them. The teacher also helps anyone else in the class.

      Reply
  7. Bernard Codrington. June 10, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I do not understand what the issue is. Firstly, the parent was aware the child was dyslexic and for six years never tried to get professional help to modify or correct the defect. Secondly she is reinforcing in the child’s mind that a child who learns differently is inferior. If the child has a low score that is a fact of life. It gives her an opportunity to go to a school where she would get special attention to correct the perceived deficiency. That is better than sitting in a class of students who do not have her deficiency. They are many children who had this problem early and ended up getting exhibitions at the advance level. They are generally given extra time and help in reading the questions.

    Reply
  8. Ann Batey
    Ann Batey June 10, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I think what she is saying that it breaks her heart to see her daughter having to go through this

    Reply
  9. Gawdess A
    Gawdess A'hkysha June 10, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Why was this done? When i got my results the teacher called us one by one and handed us our slips. We then opened them ( who chose to) and saw where we were going. This shouldnt havr been announced that way.

    Reply
    • Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
      Cherylann Bourne-Hayes June 10, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Don’t they have accomodations to include extended time?

      Reply
    • Marsha Layne
      Marsha Layne June 10, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      15 minutes Cherylann Bourne-Hayes…..15 minutes….that does not help in anyway and the process to get it is ridiculous.

      Reply
    • Angela Maria
      Angela Maria June 10, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Plus, you have to pay through the nose for it. Get a specialist to declare that the child has a learning disability that “merits ” the 15 mins…Over a thousand dollars

      Reply

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