"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Teachers' Sit-Down Strike

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in the Philippines has scheduled a sit-down strike this coming Friday, November 14, 2014. The International League of People's Struggle (ILPS) has likewise issued a press release calling for support for the teachers' demands:
Teachers led by Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) announce to stage a one-day sit down strike on November 14
in protest of PNOY’s negligence of their demands. Image by ACT
"...Teachers and education employees are demanding an increase of their monthly basic pay from P18,549 to P25,000 and from P9,000 to P15,000 respectively. They have started this campaign since last year. The demand seeks to pursue the living wage needed to cope with the unprecedented monthly rise in prices of food and other basic commodities... 
...Instead of granting the teachers’ salary demand, the government even took away previous benefits from the teachers. The previous P10,000 Performance Enhancement Incentive (PEI) was slashed to P5,000 and the P2,000 Performance Incentive Bonus (PEB) is set to end this year. 
Teachers in public elementary and high schools in the National Capital Region are expected to participate in the strike. Public sector workers are seeking for decent pay increase but budgetary allocations by the national government are largely siphoned off by corruption of pork barrel funds such as the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP) assiduously defended by Malacanang Palace...."
The question of whether teachers should go on strike had been discussed in a previous post on this blog, "Should Teachers in the Philippines Go On Mass Leave?":
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.
Strikes come in different flavors. What ACT is planning to do this time is a sit-down strike for a day. On the Facebook page of ACT, the following post can be found:


ACT president, Benjie Valbuena, is asking teachers to join the sit-down strike. One comment is shown here. Elza Vargas apparently is interested in joining the protest, but is not aware of what a sit-down strike is. Here is what Wikipedia says:


It means teachers are expected to show up in their classrooms, but they are not going to teach. Here is a photograph from the 1965 sit-down strike of teachers in Michigan:

Above photo copied from Wayne State University
What will happen inside the classrooms during the strike depends on whether parents would send their children to school on that day. If pupils go to school, there would be no instruction from teachers participating in the strike and one may just witness a scenario similar to the one described below: 1500 pupils gazing perplexedly at their teacher from their classroom seats:

Above copied from Miami News
Or pupils may just do what they normally do when they cut classes, go to the mall....



2 comments:

  1. I will be joining the partial sit-down strike tomorrow. Why partial? I can't stand the noise they'll (students) gonna make. I'll just stand and remind them to lower their voice. Then I'll go back to my table and sit and do my part in this endeavor.

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  2. Dick Gordon knew exactly what he was doing when he said teachers should get 40K monthly. You get what you pay for. A 40K salary (50K if you'd ask me) for teachers would attract the best minds in the country to get into Education. Too bad Arnold Clavio was idiotically flippant when he interviewed the man on national TV. The narrow intellectual (even ethical and moral) gene pool in the field of education is heart breaking. Stupid begets stupid. Corrupt begets corrupt.

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