Who pays the price for the teachers strike?

Posted: September 27, 2012 by madisonchodziesner in Education
Tags: , , , ,

By Madison Chodziesner

On September 5th 2012 thousands of teachers flocked to the Melbourne CBD, striking as part of the Australian Education Union’s ‘keep the promise’ campaign. Meanwhile, schools were left to cancel classes and parents left to decide on childcare options.

Victorian media has paid a lot of attention to the strike, the fight and the long term goals for our teachers but what happens to the schools, the parents and the students when these teachers leave the classroom?

Aspendale Gardens Primary (AGPS), a Victorian school of 670 students, had a total of 15 cancelled classes due to striking teachers. Principle Cheryl Osborne was reluctant to discuss the strike, making it clear that the missing teachers caused a disruption to the curriculum.

“We get directives from the department of education on whether we should cancel classes. We then send out information to the parents a couple of days in advance,” Ms Osborne explained.“We give them the option to send their kids, who will be put in another class, to school if they have no other option.”

Aspendale Gardens Primary had 15 cancelled classes due to the strike.

Julie Cutting, a parent with two children currently attending AGPS, said that the days off are an inconvenience for parents yet a necessary one. “Some kids need routine and these days off can disrupt their learning, but what else can the teachers do?” Mrs Cutting said.

“It’s not like they [the teachers] just have holidays. They do activities out of school and have had a lot of added responsibilities. They’ve been promised a lot of things that haven’t happened.”

The strike has also raised concern over whether students should be informed about why their teachers are absent. “Teachers aren’t supposed to explain to the students what the strike is about,” said Ms Osborne. Yet parents at AGPS disagree.“I think the teachers owe it to the kids to tell them about it,” Mrs Cutting stated. “It’s their learning that’s being disrupted.”

The September 5th strike was the second one this year and with a strong possibility of more to come, Principle Osborne is unsure about whether this will mean more cancelled classes at AGPS. Although many parents are supportive of the union’s campaign at the moment, it’s clear that further disruption to their children’s education will not be met with such support.

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