In a statement this morning, Richard Boyd Barrett said he supports the strike by teachers from the ASTI and TUI today and calls on the Minister for Education to abandon plans that will reduce both standards and equality in the public Education system.

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The People Before Profit TD will visit picket lines in his Dun Laoghaire constituency this morning to   support teachers who are resisting government attempts to impose a neo-liberal model on our Education system.

Behind the agenda of transferring responsibility for assessment to schools is a wider public-sector ‘reform’ agenda of transferring all responsibility for curriculum and assessment to schools, and then measuring the ‘performance’ of each individual school through various forms of data, especially school league tables.

Parents would then be encouraged to use such data to inform their decision making on where to send their son or daughter, acting as ‘consumers’ in a marketplace of ‘education providers’. This in turn would have a negative impact on education as schools try to boost their results in the league tables to compete for students. This marketised model of education has been a disaster in England and teachers should do everything they can to resist it.

In his statement, Richard Boyd Barrett said,

“The immediate issue is to prevent the Government forcing schools to take responsibility for assessment for certification, for the Junior Cert. This is, and should remain, the role of the State Examinations Commission.

The Minister claims she has ‘compromised’ by reducing the proposal for teacher assessment from 100% to 40%. However, the percentage is not the issue: it’s the principle that matters. Even 5% teacher assessment would be unacceptable. Her 40% ‘offer’ is simply the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and the percentage would inevitably increase to 100% over time, as per Ruairi Quinn’s original proposal.

The experience from Scotland demonstrates that teacher assessment also leads to massive bureaucracy, dramatically increasing teachers’ already heavy workload.

This is a battle to defend the standards and equality of the public education system in Ireland. It is about resistance to the Government’s attempt to gradually impose a neo-liberal market model of education at second level.

People Before Profit stands firmly with trade unionists who take action against this model”