Teachers & ES Alliance

Class sizes Matter

Article by Mary Merkenich, AEU State councilor and member of Teachers & ES Alliance.

Abridged version published in Green Left Weekly 4 May 2013.


Adam Creighton asserts, in an article he wrote (April 20th, 2013) in the Australian, that “Teachers unions in Australia and worldwide have been astonishingly successful at hoodwinking the public into thinking smaller classes matter.” As a teacher with over 30 years’ teaching experience and a member of the Australian Education Union, articles such as these trouble and irritate me.

They trouble me because I know they belong to a conviction that financial considerations are more important than human needs. They irritate me because they display ignorance about what it is really like to be a teacher in front of a class.

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What we stand for:

  1. Stop the Attacks on Teachers
  • Reduce workload pressure – increase planning time
  • Curriculum days for new initiatives
  • No performance pay
  • Equitable not divisive pay deals for all education workers
  • No 80% cap on increments
  1. End Competition Between Schools
  • Reject mass testing, performance pay and league tables
  • No to NAPLAN and My School
  • Improved, consistent, enforceable conditions for all school employees – end the local agreements that worsen central conditions
  • Centralised employment – No contracts for school and TAFE teachers or Support Staff
  • End Principal right of veto
  1. More funding for a strong public education system
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Reverse the cuts and boost funding to TAFE
  • Increase equity funding to overcome social disadvantage
  1. Union Campaigns Driven by Members
  • Escalate strike action to defeat Baillieu and win AEU demands.
  • Collective and public actions that put direct pressure on the Government.
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