Should Teachers in the Philippines Go On Mass Leave
|Above captured from Philippine Star|
|Above captured from the Philippine Daily Inquirer|
Teachers' strikes are not purely driven by the interests of the teachers. When teachers are overworked and underpaid, such conditions will take a great toll on students' learning outcomes. Poor working conditions can adversely affect student learning in the classrooms. Teachers go on strike to raise awareness and alert the public of something seriously wrong about public school education. Strikes always happen when there are problems already in school. For this reason, it is quite difficult to address the question of whether teachers' strikes harm learning. Furthermore, when strikes do help teachers get their demands met, these may be solutions to the schools' problems and can therefore affect the students in a positive way. Nevertheless, there are studies that tried to answer the question. From these studies, the conclusion is that there is really no hard evidence that teachers' strikes harm students. Here are two studies. The first one is a study on a strike in Belgium that took six months. These are six months of no school, yet the deleterious effects are still not super evident. Although the abstract of the paper seems to suggest that there is something clear, the actual data and various excerpts do not support such conclusion.
Here is an excerpt describing why addressing this issue is particularly difficult:
The following is the figure from which the conclusion is drawn. One should keep in mind how expanded the y-axis scale is in this graph. The changes, in absolute terms, are really small.
Pennsylvania. Here, the strikes are not that long in duration, but are more frequent. Here the conclusion is clear: “This study supports prior research in finding that Pennsylvania teacher’s strikes are not associated with negative academic outcomes, measured here by district level PSSA test performance, attendance and graduation rates.”