After seeing this video on the noon news and being so impressed with this teacher, I sat by the 10 p.m. news with my camera at the ready hoping that they would replay her interview. This video is for my Spanish-speaking readers, especially those not in Honduras who may not have the opportunity to hear the opinions of some of the good, sensible teachers.
I apologize that I just don't have the time to try to translate it. Suffice it to say, this long-time teacher doesn't agree with the strikes, thinks the unions are on the wrong path, and states that she has no confidence in the union leaders.
Just before the teacher interview, there is a brief interview with a mother who has been threatened by activists and is staying the day at the school with other parents to protect the children.
Maybe some of my bilingual readers will be so kind as to summarize some of the important points in the comments. ;-)
Update: A translation of the video is included here.
I sometimes get carried away with emotion when writing about the education system and the "teachers", as if all teachers are the same and act the same. Of course, they aren't all the same. Very few teachers actually go out marching in the streets or set tires on fire or encourage their students to do the same. There are good dedicated teachers and there are some schools that never miss a day of class.
It's hard to remember that when I think about all those children whose only tiny ray of hope of ever pulling themselves out of a lifetime of dismal poverty is to get a good education and they are being deprived of that year after year. Worse than that, after years and years of the same nonsense, students and a lot of parents are lulled into thinking that education must not be that important.
[Photo: "Peaceful" teachers march with their nail studded 2x4's]
I try to specify the 'teacher unions' and 'union activists' in most of my writing because I believe that is where the majority of the blame lies. The unions purposely try to mislead teachers into thinking that their jobs or pay or whatever are being threatened by the government or that other teachers' rights are, such as the famously growing number of teachers who haven't received pay in famously increasing number of months. But then what does that say about the intelligence of teachers who don't investigate an issue for themselves, read the proposed laws, and form their own decisions? Not much.
There are many other teachers (most teachers, according to the IABD study) who strongly say that they don't agree with the unions or the strikes but they don't do anything to change the situation. I do understand that there is physical risk in standing up against the unions as well as job risk. But teachers, after all, did elect those militant leaders. I'm losing patience with these teachers. Teachers who allow themselves and their students be used by the unions for political purposes become part of the problem, too. They are basically saying that it is all right to let the children suffer as long as they don't personally risk suffering.
I lost patience with the government long ago. The government has had a decade to correct the payroll issues. Nothing was done about the 2008 TSC payroll audit until the civic group Transformemos Honduras [Spanish] [English] brought it to light and publicly demanded action. Lobo declared last year that protesters would not be allowed to "take" public buildings, yet school directors lock the gates and don't allow students or willing teachers to enter. Lobo could send a couple of police officers or soldiers to cut the lock and stay to maintain order and prevent the union activists from intimidating parents and teachers who are willing to work. He could, but he doesn't.
No school; strikes, standoffs, and now death
New teacher union demands; same old chaos