Thursday, September 13, 2007

Approximately 600 teachers were murdered across Iraq in the 2006-2007 academic year

And you thought we had it bad.

Read the whole story here.

Here is an excerpt:

The chaos caused by violent attacks and kidnappings is felt at nearly every level, with students misbehaving and missing class, and teachers refusing to come to work. Approximately 600 teachers were murdered across Iraq in the 2006-2007 academic year, according to the ministry of education.

"Education in Baghdad's schools is a joke," said 35-year-old Ali Abdul-Hussein, who has moved to a different Baghdad neighbourhood and pulled his two children out of school because of the violence. "The ministry [of education] can't provide education and protection for our children."

The day-to-day operation of schools is disrupted by the number of displaced students moving in and out of educational institutions. The education departments in both al-Karkh in west Baghdad and al-Rasafa in the east are packed with parents appealing to bureaucrats to move their children to safer areas of the city or postpone their studies for another year.

Meanwhile, mortars and roadside bomb attacks in the capital’s war-wracked neighbourhoods — from the mainly Sunni Arab Adhamiyya quarter and the mixed district of Dora to the formerly middle-class areas of al-Khadra and Hei al-Amil — have forced schools to shut down for months at a time.

What Iraq teaches me is a sense of humility and how lucky we are. Truly.

And I have been learning a lot lately. A lot about how teachers are valued by the board and our own union.

CTU President Marilyn Stewart, her political caucus called UPC and their "all praise to our glorious revolution of sustained unity" contract have taught me so much.

What the latest contract has taught me is that we don't deserve anything more than 4%.

We don't deserve better medical care.

We can't make things better for PAT's.

We don't deserve and can't achieve any of those things through negotiation with the City of Chicago. Just can't be done you know.


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This last week when Principal Florence Gonzalez began the mass firing of teachers, she declared war on the communities of South Chicago and the East Side. Chosen because of her political connections rather than her qualifications, she knows little about our neighborhoods, and has shown through her actions that she cares even less about our kids- the students whose education is entrusted to her.

Teachers and students alike took action even before her term as principal expressing their dissatisfaction with her appointment. Regardless, she was rushed into position, and has been abusing her power since. She has increased police presence in the school, using money for security instead of much needed educational materials. Student morale is low, and those teachers that encouraged and motivated students to actually be excited about their education have been terminated.

She has fired the ONLY bilingual history and math teachers, and those who run after school activities, INCLUDING the faculty sponsor of STUDENT COUNCIL!

Students responded with outrage, going as far as to plan a walk out. Principal Florence Gonzalez reacted with more of the same, warning students that they would be suspended, and that paddy wagons had already been called.



Principal Gonzalez has ties to the HDO, she has fired good teachers and are replacing them with people who backed her, connected people. She claims to be firing teachers who are on probation and have done things to fired. The only thing that these teachers have done is hard work to teach our children, many times these teachers host special events, come in early and stay long after the school day is over with, without getting paid. The meeting held on Monday, when that one teacher stood up to Principal Gonzalez, she couldn't respond to this teacher, she knew that this teacher was right. Principal Gonzalez's way of showing that she cares for our children is not right. The only thing she is doing is hurting our children at their chance to get a good education.

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