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Debate: Teacher strikes

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Should teachers ever go on strike, or should they use other means?

Background and context

Teacher strikes are what happens when the government disagrees with a teacher's union. Teachers go on strike to try and get their message accross to the government and protest. However this disrupts classes and children are affected in a bad way.

This is Jack's story: "Recently the government have removed a law that requires only qualified teachers to be allowed to teach in schools. Most of my teachers have gone on strike against it. It was good at first because we missed out on a lot of classes but now they are happening so frequentlty it's annoying and effecting our learining and we are getting bored all the time because our classes were cancelled."

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Teacher rights: Do teachers have a right to strike like other workers?

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Yes

  • Teachers should have a right to strike just like other workers. It is important to acknowledge that teachers are workers. That they are involved in a socially-important industry does not mean that their rights as workers should be any different or more restricted. They should have the right to form unions and strike just like all other workers.
  • Harms do result from teacher strikes, that's the point. Harms result from any strike. This is precisely the point, and is the only leverage that workers can collective muster to uphold their rights and broader social justice. Striking business workers, indeed, harm shareholders and customers. Similarly, striking teachers harm students to some extent by depriving them of a couple weeks of education. These are, for sure, innocent victims of a strike, but it is the only leverage workers have, and they must have this leverage.


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No

Striking of any kind should not be acceptable. Striking negatively effects people's lives, jobs, and can cause huge inconvenience. When pilots strike, passengers have extremely lengthly airport delays and it is a real nuisance to many people. When teachers strike, it causes a nuisance to the millions of people; students and their parents; that are effected. Striking of any kind should not be allowed and really, if people want to strike, it means they're not happy in their job, so why should they continue to work there?

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Students: Do teacher strikes have benefit on the students?

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Yes

  • Teachers often strike to give something better for the students. Most of the time, when teachers strike, it is because students needs have not been met. When teachers strike, the government usually doesn't like it because nobody is teaching the children, so they listen to the teachers to avoid it happenning again. Teachers are the only trained education professionals in society and as such it is vitally important for students and the community that they have at least some input into how education systems are run. If governments create policies or enact legislation without consulting the very people who run the schools on a daily basis then a strike becomes the only way in which these valuable voices can contribute to the development of educational reforms. In an ideal world governments and education departments would actually listen to teachers but until this day teacher strikes will remain a necessary evil. The alternative is letting governments have the monopoly on education initiatives and school funding and this benefits no one but the education ministers who want to leave their stamp on the world by changing the curriculum or closing financially struggling schools. Strikes, therefore, are an important check that ensures students are benefiting from a sound education.



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No

  • Teacher strikes severely disrupt students learning. Strikes interrupt student learning, obviously by depriving students of teachers. While teachers may have a case to make, a strike is inappropriately harmful on a fundamental social service, education.



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Effectiveness: Do teacher strikes have any effect on the government policy?

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Yes

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No

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Yes

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No

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See also

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