Saturday, 12 October 2013

Why are the teachers striking?

If you're wondering about why the teachers in the South West are going on strike on Thursday, and if you believe the dishonest malinformation presented to us by Mr Gove via the Mail, Telegraph, et al, then you need to watch this:

I would say that the efforts––both physical and emotional––of the teachers at Thornhill Academy are fairly typical of the work ethic and investment of teachers in all schools. They're certainly not exceptional. Next you should think of the conditions we work in and Gove's recent activities: accusations that teachers are 'betraying their profession' by questioning his plans to remove planning, preparation and assessment time for us to do our job properly; moving to abolish standard contractual protection against unreasonable working conditions; reactionary curriculum changes that are being implemented without consulting actual real-life teachers and despite warnings from the very 'think tanks' and special advisors that are supposed to be on Gove's side; accusations of teachers conspiring to make exams easy in some kind of selfish attempt to make themselves look good with minimum effort. Hopefully then you can see why almost all teachers are fed-up, on the brink and determined to stop our education system being privatised and used in a game political brinkmanship that is ultimately about the aggrandizement of an individual.

Gove says that the majority of teachers welcome the changes he is making. That is clearly either delusional or a fib. I have NEVER met a teacher who agrees with his vision for the future of our education. And I know a lot of teachers. Gove is part of a political party that is required to govern as part of a coalition because it could not achieve a majority of public support, and yet he is making the most radical and reckless reforms in our lifetime of an education system that is the model and the envy of much of the world, despite the picture the right-wing press paints of it. Teachers are just trying to force him to be accountable, explain himself and enter into discussion with the people that actually do the job and provide the service he is tinkering with like it's his own personal train set.

So, don't bitch about lazy teachers on Thursday. Not unless you've watched this programme and think that you could do it whilst being criticized, cajolled and complained about by your boss and the press. Instead, complain about the circumstances causing the strike and demand that Gove is held accountable.

Above all, don't fall into the trap of believing a word that he says; clearly his only interest is in his own career and political legacy.

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