Today, Wednesday 26th October, I watched the news aghast as I saw the Government announce that it plans to remove ASTI members from the payroll on November 7th. This is a new low of dirty tricks and something that has shocked anyone I know to the core.
One of the only things that politicians listen to is votes. Actually, I thing it’s one of the only things many of them care about – full stop. (but then, the past 8 years of treatment by Irish Politicians has turned me into something of a cynic)
I’d encourage you to let your local politicians know how you feel about the government’s treatment of teachers.
Actually, not just teachers are suffering – the cuts have hurt students.
What can any one of us do? Not a lot as an individual, but as a group we have a voice. Exercise your voice, write to your TD. Here’s a sample I sent to my local TDs in the run up to the recent General Election:
In GE11 I voted for a combination of Labour/Fine Gael. In Cork East this became yourself, Tom Barry and Sean Sherlock.
In GE16 I will not be voting for you or Sean. Why?
Well, I am a School Chaplain, a teacher, and I’ve seen the damage that your combined policies have done to education and those suffering from disadvantage.
A quick sampling:
Removal of Guidance Counsellors: affects children of disadvantage to a greater degree. They may not have the family resources to research college choices.
Increased Pupil Teacher Ratio: This affects all students, but will affect weaker students to a greater degree.
Capitation Cuts: School budgets were even cut in Budget 2016! Year on year schools are being given less to work with. And then the mantra becomes one of greater productivity. This is a nonsense. Schools have a great many needs, and cutting funding will affect schools ability to do the best for their students.
Unequal Pay Scales: I could be doing the exact same job as one of my colleagues, but simply because he/she received a contract after 2011 they will be paid less? This is an incredible injustice and one that Labour and Fine Gael should be absolutely ashamed of.
Cuts to SNAs, Resource Hours: Obviously, this will affect weaker students more. It simply cannot be justified.
I write in the hope that you can pass on to your colleagues the depth of feeling of many teachers. Further, I hope that you pass this message onto your colleagues. A huge number of teachers are fed up with what Labour & Fine Gael have done to education.