Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dismantling the welfare state: Education Cuts -USA and NZ

The obsession with testing combined with the laying off of teachers has led many teachers in the USA to lose their jobs and education to be without joy, hope or real learning.

The dismantling of the welfare state is happening here in Aoteroa as well, with massive cuts to social services especially in health and education.

In health, there have been closures of community mental health clinics, and savage cuts in funding to sexual abuse counselling-which has left many clients feeling abandoned and desperate.

In education the cuts have started with pre-schools and adult education. The government has cut funding to early childhood education for qualified teachers. It has cut funding to community adult education classes, and abolished the training incentive allowance which used to help beneficiaries achieve worthwhile tertiary qualifications. Money for student allowances and loans for university students is also being cut.

Next it will be primary and secondary school layoffs, probably co-inciding with a massive sell of of public assets.. Already teaching positions are becoming as rare as hen's teeth with hundreds applying for a single teaching position; at the same time as thousands are lining up for a supermarket check-out position.

Unless we fight back we can easily sink into a feeling of fear and hopelessness.
The teaching unions here are divided with the secondary teachers' union, the PPTA, not supporting the pay equity demands of the primary teachers' union the NZEI.

Unite was set up as a community union to unite the concerns of a range of workers and beneficiaries in the community, including language teachers, cinema workers, restaurant workers, mothers, students, and the unemployed. It is time for Unite to take action for its employed and unemployed members together; and to invite other unions to join it in a collective fight against the working class, our livelihoods, jobs, and services.

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