The ACT`s Education Directorate should be commended for its policy of reducing class sizes to a maximum of 21 or 22 preschoolers to third-grade classes. The problem is that the government does not insist on compliance until it is addressed. Too many classes have more students than the subsidized maximum of 21. The most frequent compound classes are years 3 and 4. These classes are often too large to achieve optimal results. The union had announced that the agreement proposed by the government would go to a vote on December 3. Aware of the massive opposition among educators, however, she said she would not make a recommendation to accept or reject the offer, fraudulently claiming that it was out of respect for the “democratic will of the members”. This followed a series of agreements being sold under Jay Weatherhill`s former Labour government, which led to a growing relaxation of teachers. A third of teachers and almost half of education support staff now have precarious contracts.
At the same time, they are the second lowest teachers nationally. The average class size is 28 across the country, while many classes have more than 30 students. It is a debate that continues in education: class size and its impact on student learning and outcomes. It seems that a lawyer with a finding looking for a study can certainly find one to make his own case. The problem is that the studies are of different quality and often study very different results for different populations. If ratified, the agreement would reinforce these already disastrous conditions. It includes an annual increase of 2.35 per cent over the next three years and does not help to reduce class sizes or teacher workloads. It also includes an insulting $15 million per year to help students with learning disabilities, behavioural and psychological problems, and a number of other social problems, which average about $29,000 per school. This amount is not even enough to recruit one tutor per school, let alone one tutor for each class. The agreement was adopted with 87.5% yes in the choice of workers. “And like all agreements, it`s full of legal jargon and technical terms, and we`re all exhausted and we probably don`t have the know-how to know what it means anyway, let alone the time or energy to do it,” she added. “And I thought, wait a minute, that`s not why we chose you because we`re looking for a guide here.
For the first time in my life, as a union member, I felt lonely, and it was really disappointing. The AEU allowed teachers to read the agreement for only seven days, discuss and discuss its content, convene and vote on a union assembly, in conditions where educators are exhausted, stressed and overburdened, while being staggered until the last days of the year. Widespread opposition to the agreement must be part of a wider campaign by teachers, parents and students to oppose the agreement. This must be the starting point for a broader offensive by the working class to defend the right to public education. Such a struggle can only continue if it is removed from the AEU strike and organized by the establishment of class committees and independent files controlled by the educators themselves. For the first time in a generation, we have a proposal for an agreement that puts in place important measures for workload and contracts.