Throw a Few Million American Teachers on the Barbie

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American public school educators have been insulted, mocked, punished, shamed, blamed and threatened by politicians, Bill Gates, corporations and the media for a decade. Their professionalism has been reduced by name-calling, scripted curricula, “common core” standards and the publication of standardized test scores. Their schools have become the playthings of  billionaire bullies and hedge fund managers with public school treasure being surrendered to shady privatizers and charter school conglomerates. American public school teachers have watched more of their students come to school hungry and without proper medical care. They’ve watched public education be dismantled by unqualified clowns in NY, Louisiana, Chicago, Michigan and Wisconsin. American teachers have seen their benefits cut, right to organize eliminated, working conditions deteriorate, supplies dwindle and pensions disappear.

And what have American educators done about this?

Nothing, aside from a handful of really clever blog posts.

I am writing this really clever blog post from Melbourne in the great state of Victoria, Australia. The new conservative state government here in Victoria wants to introduce a pay-for-performance (merit pay) scheme for public school educators and has offered a raise.

Such a contract offer would be like Xmas in Philadelphia!

How has that offer been received by Victorian public school educators?

THEY SHUT DOWN THE ENTIRE F-ING SYSTEM TODAY!

That’s right. 25,000 teachers stayed home, 10,000 marched on Parliament and they closed 150 public schools. Parents were politely alerted in advance to make other plans for the day. Many principals supported the strike and even marched with their colleagues.

Click above for news coverage of the strike

Teachers here in Australia are not human piñata or professional victims. They stand up for themselves, their students and their communities.

Teachers here have medical insurance, secure pensions and enjoy long-service leave.

Aerial view of teacher protest

 

Please take a look at this news clip where teachers swarm the city and speak of how they feel insulted by the government.

They have promised more strikes in the future.

Striking teachers fill arena - This is what democracy looks like!

From the ABC

TEACHER: It’s very divisive to talk about performance pay cuts, particularly when you’re dealing with children. They are not products; we’re not part of a corporate empire and I’m here to support my colleagues and really to get justice for the students.

TEACHER 2: There’s no research basis to performance pay and really what we’re trying to do in schools is work as teams to improve student outcomes. It’s not going to work with performance pay.

 

Walking distance from where I write this article is a memorial to the 8-hour workday being codified into law in 1850. Melbourne has a proud tradition of labor rights and rights enforcement that American educators could learn from. As an Aussie friend reminds me, “The refusal to withhold one’s labor is a fundamental human right. Otherwise, we are slaves.”

Comments

8 Responses to “Throw a Few Million American Teachers on the Barbie”
  1. Nina Bishop says:

    Very odd that they are trying to move to pay for performance evaluations!! I watched BBC News tonight and saw that Australia’s economy is the ONLY one of the developed countries doing well. So, why then? Shameful of them to try it. Good for the teachers!

  2. Inverness says:

    I teach in New York City, and confess it’s humbling to see the strength of the Australian teacher movement. Australians, make no mistake: there is a global neoliberal movement to reshape public institutions to look more like ours. Resist — it’s downright dystopian in the States.

  3. Phil Cullen says:

    There must come that day when teachers will rally in even larger numbers in the USA, UK, New Zealand and Australia to rid the teaching/learning world of the viscious national blanket testing schemes in each place. The active movement to disrespect public education by the use of invalid, unrelable, useless blanket testing is the first move towards the establishment of charter schools and then pure-private schools. The ‘shady prtvateers and charter school conglomerates’, supported by unthinking or dimwitted politicans, can move in easily on shonky evidence. School kids, all along the time-line of this planned manouvre will suffer. At least a generation of valuable brain-power will be lost, if something isn’t done SOON.
    Care for kids. Parents and teachers need to rally in such numbers that the Melbourne one look like a little Boston tea-party. Chuck the lot overboard..

  4. tom hawkins says:

    Unfortunately most US teachers teach in a “right to work state” A nice way of saying that as public employees our right to strike is no longer illegal. This is also done with police and firefighters. We are fired immediately if we strike and have to reapply for the position when the strike is over. If it is one day you just can’t go back to work. You have to start the employment process.

  5. walt sautter says:

    “They’ve watched public education be dismantled by unqualified clowns in NY, Louisiana, Chicago, Michigan and Wisconsin. American teachers have seen their benefits cut, right to organize eliminated, working conditions deteriorate, supplies dwindle and pensions disappear.

    And what have American educators done about this?

    Nothing, aside from a handful of really clever blog posts”

    Today’s American educators are timid and weak. They are a long cry from the days of Albert Shanker in NY.
    Maybe it’s a symptom of society in general,”They’ve watched public education be dismantled by unqualified clowns in NY, Louisiana, Chicago, Michigan and Wisconsin. American teachers have seen their benefits cut, right to organize eliminated, working conditions deteriorate, supplies dwindle and pensions disappear.

    And what have American educators done about this?

    Nothing, aside from a handful of really clever blog posts”

    Today’s American educators are timid and weak. They are a long cry from the days of Albert Shanker in NY.
    Maybe it’s a symptom of society in general, We have tolerated over ten years of futile, bankrupting wars with almost no protest. “They’ve watched public education be dismantled by unqualified clowns in NY, Louisiana, Chicago, Michigan and Wisconsin. American teachers have seen their benefits cut, right to organize eliminated, working conditions deteriorate, supplies dwindle and pensions disappear.

    And what have American educators done about this?

    Nothing, aside from a handful of really clever blog posts”

    Today’s American educators are timid and weak. They are a long cry from the days of Albert Shanker in NY.
    Maybe it’s a symptom of society in general, We have tolerated over ten years of futile, bankrupting wars with almost no protest. “They’ve watched public education be dismantled by unqualified clowns in NY, Louisiana, Chicago, Michigan and Wisconsin. American teachers have seen their benefits cut, right to organize eliminated, working conditions deteriorate, supplies dwindle and pensions disappear.

    And what have American educators done about this?

    Nothing, aside from a handful of really clever blog posts”

    Today’s American educators are timid and weak. They are a long cry from the days of Albert Shanker in NY.
    Maybe it’s a symptom of society in general, We have tolerated over ten years of futile, bankrupting wars with almost no protest. We have tolerated years of the rich siphoning off the cream from our economy and again with meager protest.
    Like my mother used to say – “If you don’t respect and stand up for yourself, no one else will” and as I like to say “The more you take, the more you’ll get!”

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  1. […] Stager, an expert in technology and constructivist pedagogy, sent a bulletin from Australia about the latest events […]

  2. […] Link: http://stager.tv/blog/?p=2762 AUSTRALIAN TEACHERS SHUT DOWN THE ENTIRE F-ING SYSTEM THURSDAY! That’s right. 25,000 teachers stayed home, 10,000 marched on Parliament and they closed 150 public schools. Parents were politely alerted in advance to make other plans for the day. Many principals supported the strike and even marched with their colleagues. Click above for news coverage of the strike Teachers here in Australia are not human piñata or professional victims. They stand up for themselves, their students and their communities. Note comments from USA…Diane Ravitch etc. Thanks to Mary [Amsterdam] and Mike {Mexico] for sending the above.  I had missed this news completely….wet weather…media smoke signals dampened, I guess. Phil [http://treehornexpress.wordpress.com Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  3. […] Gary Stager, Throw a Few Million American Teachers on the Barbie in which he notes that American teachers, despite being “insulted, mocked, punished, shamed, […]