The AEU allowed teachers to read the agreement for only seven days, discuss and discuss its content, convene and vote on a union assembly, under conditions where educators are exhausted, stressed and overburdened, while being staggered until the last days of the year. Teachers and support officers in the state of South Australia have largely opposed a sell-out wage and conditional agreement reached last month between the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the Liberal government of Steven Marshall. Small class sizes, especially in the early years, can have enormous academic value with few additional costs. It does not need more teachers, as the teaching of technical learning can be divided into key areas, numeracy capacity and literacy. The agreement was adopted with 87.5% yes in the choice of workers. For more than 18 months, the EE has worked to suppress and use the widespread determination of state educators to fight for better working conditions. It limited teachers to mand and demoralizing actions, including a half-day break and one-hour strikes: asking teachers to finish the last-minute work within a week, after the students were sent home early. She opposed any appeal to the working class for a united struggle to defend the right to public education and proposed that teachers send letters to the Minister of Education and send delegations to MPs. «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. Widespread opposition to the agreement must be part of a broader 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.
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. Minutes after the election results were announced, teachers turned to social media to express their dismay at the result and their disgust at the role of the union leadership in implementing the agreement. 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.