Bill Greenshields, ex President of the NUT calls on delegates attending this Easter round of teacher union conferences to think hard, plan, then act for Education. Education: learning the lessons

“Protect and improve our public services - no cuts. End corporate profiteering in health, education, social and other public services. Stop the EU privatisation Directives.”

The People’s Charter

We’re on our way to economic recovery! No, really we are… Of course, the “recovery” is dependent on us making a few sacrifices – in terms of jobs, pay, pensions, resources and much more. And if we fail to conform to this regime, we will only have ourselves to blame if things get worse. Now this must be true because New Labour, the Tories, the Lib Dems and every self appointed pundit and apologist for capitalism agrees that it is.

So we workers in schools and colleges are about to experience a pretty hefty sustained imposed “sacrifice” – straight away if the Tories get in, and after a little while if New Labour scramble back.

Just how long will we tolerate this Alice-in-Wonderland interpretation of the world, where working people are held responsible for the crisis generated by those who have got very rich and powerful by exploiting them in the first place? Where public services, so essential to the ordinary people who can’t buy into the privileged areas of private education and health etc, are cut in order that the bankers and speculators can return to “business as usual”? Where children in State schools will have to share books and equipment in oversized classes and inadequate buildings, often taught by unqualified staff, while those who brought the world into crisis remain free to buy their children the small classes and “old school tie” privileges of private education? Where schools which want to cooperate with each other in order to do the best for all the children are forced to compete for bums on seats and the money that goes with them… or go under?

On top of the cuts of course, all the parliamentary parties promise to plough ahead towards privatisation of education… through the discredited Academies and Trusts programme and ever more bizarre proposals… the Tories have recently discovered “workers’ cooperatives” which they think might ease the process! And there will be no shortage of public money to pump straight into the private sector through the fragmentation of state education.

And there is money – real profit - to be made already… at the beginning of this school year the Times Education Supplement reported, “The management of a special school for boys with behavioural problems (The Priory School in Taunton, Somerset) could be handed to a profit-making company in the first deal of its kind…” The TES in the same issue (4.9.09) also reports “Edison, an American education firm, took over the management of Turin Grove School in Edmonton, North London, back in 2007 in a £1.3million three-year deal…. The company, which runs about 100 Charter Schools in the USA, wants to now manage Academies”


I bet they do!