Teachers strike ‘holds kids hostage’

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Nanjing Night Net

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THE Federation of Parents and Citizens Association NSW says today’s strike by public school teachers is “holding kids hostage to political wrangling”. Goulburn’s teachers will join their colleagues across NSW to stop work for 24 hours after a standoff with Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.

The NSW Teachers Federation has expressed that concerns listed in their ‘Putting Students First’ charter will not even be discussed by the Minister.

Rachel Sowden, publicity officer with the P & C Association NSW, said a stop work was not the way to go.

“The IRC (Industrial Relations Commission) as an independent umpire, has urged the NSW Teachers Federation to reconsider this strike action, and we endorse this recommendation also,” she said.

“We do understand the issues at stake, but believe that strike action is not the way to go.

“We would obviously like more information and details on the consultation process before we go ahead with anything.

“This action won’t support our kids, when neither side is prepared to negotiate.

“This is basically tantamount to holding kids hostage to political wrangling and negotiation.” Some of the promises teachers want the Government to commit to include that class sizes will not be increased, funds for public education will not be reduced in real terms, and also that key decisions at the school level should be made co-operatively by principals, teachers and parents.

But in a letter written to the Teachers Federation on Monday afternoon, the Minister categorically refused to endorse or sign the charter. He has also threatened to pursue the union in the Industrial Relations Commission if they go ahead with strike action.

“The minister has validated the concerns identified in the charter in relation to the future of funding and class sizes, along with the future levels of permanency, executive staffing and specialist teaching,” Federation president Maurie Mulheron said.

“But he has made it clear that he will not guarantee or even discuss these matters. We think that when it comes to certain funding, he is going to have to rob Peter to pay Paul. We will continue with protest action for as long as it takes.”

The P & C Federation said that “parents have a right for a charter, we send our children to school each day in good faith that they will receive an educational experience. Children are certainly not going to be put first this Wednesday”.

“The Teacher’ Federation and the Government should engage each other in a professional manner, and to appreciate the real need for children to be left out of the argument,” it said.

Local parents are advised to check with their school this morning for what arrangements, if any, are in place for supervision.

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