Posts Tagged ‘Underfunding’

Striking Teachers Describe Lack of Resources and Underfunding

February 6, 2023

Last week Britain’s teachers joined the other workers in taking strike action over decades of poor pay and increasingly deteriorating conditions. And naturally, the right-wing media and YouTubers sneered and complained. One berk who phoned up Mike Graham on LBC radio claimed to have been married to a teacher, but that they were actually well-paid with plenty of spare time and holidays. This was pounced on immediately by various left-wing YouTubers, who pointed out that teachers don’t have plenty of spare time, because they’re still required to work after the official end of the school day, on things like sports and so on. Plus they have to take the kids’ schoolwork home for marking. This means that in practice they’re working much longer than their official hours. I know, as my mother was one. Another pratt appeared on GB News or some other right-wing internet news channel to claim that they were being selfish and should put up with low wages like others were doing. But, he said, he would have been prepared to support them if they had been striking over the poor conditions and state of Britain’s schools. Michael Walker of Novara Media pulled that one to shreds, stating that teachers couldn’t actually do that by law. Current British legislation states that workers can only strike over pay and conditions, not over anything else.

But the state of Britain’s schools has always been a major concern to teachers aside from their own personal interests. It was one of the reasons behind the teachers’ strike when Thatcher was in power in the 1980s, and it’s a major cause of their discontent now. I also found a video on YouTube, in which they describe how underfunded schools are and the shortages of necessary teaching equipment and resources this causes. I can’t put it up here, as I’ve since lost it unfortunately, but I hope you’ll accept what I’m saying.

Schools have been underfunded and teachers poorly paid for a very long time, because Thatcherite ideology doesn’t like state education. Hence the transition of schools from the state sector, run by the local authority, to academies, managed by private companies. The companies owning them are often in tax havens, and these schools are frequently no better than the state management they replace. In fact many were so dreadful themselves that the chains running them collapsed and they had to be taken back into state management. But this hasn’t deterred the Tories. A few years ago, mad-eyed Nikki Morgan wanted to bring back grammar schools and but that was quashed. The idea is still out there, however, floating around on the right.

The point here is that teachers aren’t just striking for themselves, but because they are acutely aware of how poorly the state education sector is being treated by decades of Thatcherite mismanagement, cuts and underfunding. They aren’t striking because they want to harm the education of the children they teach by stopping work, but to force the government into treating schools fairly.

There’s also a class element there as well. Private school fees have rocketed while funding of state schools has remained level. This means that the rich are receiving a much more expensive, and presumably better education, than state pupils. This may allow them to position themselves as in a natural position to take up top jobs and social positions than all those pesky state students.

So when you hear the Tories whinge about teachers, remember: they want state schools and their staff to be poor, so that their pupils will always remain, compared to them, at the back of the class in terms of jobs and prospects.

Diane Abbott Slams Rishi Sunak’s Bogus Promise about Continuing Maths Education Until 18

January 5, 2023

Yesterday, our latest prime minister, Rishi Sunak, announced that as well as tackling the state of the NHS and channel migrants, he would make it compulsory for school students to continue to study maths until 18. This was, he announced, necessary to combat poor maths literacy. His speech has impressed precisely no-one, and has been extensively torn to shreds by commenters like Owen Jones and Novara Media. After all, it’s the Tory policies of underfunding, cuts and stealth privatisation that have created the mess the NHS is in, in the first place. As for the channel migrants, they’ve been unable to tackle that either, except with Patel’s plan to send them all to Rwanda, a country suffering serious human rights abuses. That plan was condemned by the public and also, I believe, various judicial authorities.

Abbott in a tweet stated that Sunak’s plan for continuing maths education until the school leaving age was bogus because the Tories had cut teacher’s pay, as well as underfunding education generally. She’s absolutely right, as I can remember from my schooldays when schools were increasingly decaying thanks to cuts to funds. Except for the academies, of course, which were given more far more than state schools. Critics have also wondered whether Sunak will even have time to implement this reform before the possibility that he and his wretched party are voted out at the next election.

There’s also been an interesting opinion piece in the Groaniad by a lecturer in mathematical biology. He argues that it’s unnecessary, as maths is already the most popular A Level subject, far outstripping its nearest rival, psychology. He also states that making it compulsory would further decrease the numbers of people taking arts and humanities subjects, as they’d have to give up them as well as choose another STEM subject to harmonise with the maths. He also makes the excellent point that making it compulsory might put people off it even more by forcing them to study a subject they hate.

To me, it just looks like Sunak trying desperately to look like he’s actually doing and standing for something, whereas in fact he stands for nothing except the worn out Tory policies that have driven the public services into the ground and working people to desperation. The fact that he has nothing to say was shown very clearly just before Christmas, when he, or one of the Tories, announced they wanted to meet the railway unions, but wouldn’t talk about wages. As wages are part of the issue, this negated the whole point of any meeting. Again, it was just an exercise in public relations. He wanted it to appear that he was doing something and prepared to negotiate while the reality was the complete opposite.

Sunak is flailing about with nothing to offer, and it’s obvious.

Commoners Choir – ‘These Are the Bastards’

May 5, 2022

And now, as the late, sorely missed computer-generated video jockey Max Headroom said, ‘More – of the same’. Here’s another deeply satirical musical attack on the Tories and their backers in industry, the media and the aristocratic landlords from Commoners Choir and their channel on YouTube.

It’s presented as a school lesson, showing us the bastards who underfund everything, rarely work, don’t pay tax, print lies, fiddle accounts, and frame our laws. The bastards making money responsible for starting wars, play golf while damning the poor, privatising everything they can while going grouse shooting, and tell lies. The same people who botched the response to the Coronavirus, failed to prevent further deaths by going into lockdown as soon as possible, botched supplying the protective masks and equipment. The Tory and industrial elite that deliberately don’t employ enough staff and underpay those they do, curtail public rights of way, cut grants and condemn the sick. The aristos and toffs who use public school arithmetic to drag everything back to the 19th century and before. They are arms merchants, landowners, the proprietors of the news media, and the rich figures who hypocritically front appeals while enjoying obscene wealth themselves. It also has a go at beardie Branson for suing the NHS and then grovelling for the state to bail him out. It ends with the request that people remember what they learned today, with images of people demonstrating against the privatisation of the NHS and the message spoofing the government’s own warnings about the Coronavirus – ‘Stay alert> Stop the bastards> Save Lives.

It’s less music than an old-fashioned schoolroom chant accompanied with the images of the offenders themselves. They are too numerous to list, but obviously include Johnson, Cameron and co. as well as Murdoch, the Barclay twins, Margaret Thatcher and many, many more.