Sunday 23 March 2008

Teach the government a lesson!

Good to see teachers' union, the NUT, balloting for strike action over pay (BBC News: Teachers to ballot on pay strikes).

The government's assertation, that the teachers' 2.45% pay offer is above the rate of inflation, beggars belief - especially when you consider the recent hyper-inflation in energy and fuel prices (electricity and gas up by about 15%, petrol and diesel up by well over 20% in the last year). Indeed, very recently, the criteria for measuring inflation were changed (BBC News: Muffins enter typical UK 'basket') - I wonder why ?!?

At the same time, teachers have seen increasing workloads as the government impose changes to the curriculum, adding to the existing high workloads (on both teachers and kids!) caused by SAT tests and the pressures of league tables. The raising of the school leaving age to 18 will not help matters, either!

At the same time, I don't agree with all the NUT have said recently. Their blaming of children and their parents for problems in the classroom (BBC News: Spoilt children 'disrupt schools') has reactionary overtones in two ways. Firstly, it ignores the real reasons kids are increasingly demoralised, due to increased workload (we're back to the SAT's), fewer facilities for kids both in and out of schools, parents stressed out due to increased workload and declining living standards, and lack of a real future. Secondly, it gives the 'green light' for the government to further attack the benefits and living standards of families, single parents etc, saying the kids are over-indulged.

The planned teachers' strikes are very welcome, but their best hope of victory will be if they make links with, and support the struggles of, other workers - namely the parents of the kids in their classrooms.

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