Gary Stager, an expert in technology and constructivist pedagogy, sent a bulletin from Australia about the latest events there.
He notes that American teachers have been subject to a campaign of bullying, vilification and shaming, that goes beyond name-calling to pink slips, cuts in their compensation and benefits, and removal of what were once standard protection for their freedom to teach. According to the Metlife Survey, teachers are demoralized. I have talked to thousands of teachers these past two years, and I can verify the survey’s finding. Teachers speak of feeling powerless, depressed, angry. They don’t know what to do. And the assaults on their professionalism continue in state after state.
By contrast, teachers in Melbourne, Australia, reacted swiftly and sharply to a proposal by the conservative state government for performance pay. 25,000 teachers stayed home, 10,000 marched on Parliament, and 150 schools were shut down. Parents got notice to make plans for their children, and many principals marched with their teachers.
The Australian teachers are not feeling powerless. They are standing up for their profession. Let’s see what happens next.