So as Athens, once the cradle of enlightened, public, philosophical and political debate sees anti-austerity riots, in the UK, teachers have decided to take an extra day off in protest about pensions.
It looks as if enlightened debate has failed and civil unrest, in varying degrees of vitriol, is being deemed necessary.
I could bring up some of the other issues facing the world at present – the ‘worse things happen at sea’ argument. I’m going to take the road slightly less travelled approach though, and stick with the teachers. Not just in the UK, either.
If teachers are going to go on strike, I’d much rather it was over the state of education rather than a wrangle over pensions. Yes, I realise that some teachers may wish to have a few extra pennies reluctantly forked over by the UK’s increasingly rich; it would be a comfort to be able to buy a bottle of gin to help force down the cat food they’ll be living off as they cluster round a fire in an oil drum outside the closed-down nursing home that’s been turned into a country club for retired DWP directors.
Sorry though, sir and miss, but there’s simply no money to pay for it. You might think that there is, as billionaires swan around in golden, er… swans, but that money’s imaginary. It’s made up from the debts that your pension schemes are invested in. It’s going to go ‘poof’ any time now.
If you want a rosier future, do you honestly think for a minute that it lies in minor tweaks to your pension contributions?
You went into teaching because you believed the children are our future. Are there any educators that believe that our current education system is building a better future? Is there anyone with even a slightly informed opinion of education that believes that we are educating our children in a way that is better for them and for the rest of the world in general?
If you haven’t seen it, please take ten minutes out of your busy schedule to watch this talk by Ken Robinson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U – it’s brilliantly presented and a compelling argument for urgent, radical change in education – and in wider society.
Our current system is there to support the status quo, to serve a giant economic machine that perpetuates inequality, social and global injustice so that a small elite can continue to live lives of needless wealth. If you pay taxes, you are paying for that.
Now if one of those idiots in the dayglo vests stopped you in the street and said “Pardon me mate, but could you give just a few hundred quid a year to help perpetuate global inequality and injustice and deny opportunities for the disadvantaged?” you’d tell them to piss off (just like you do all the others…)
So, mes professeurs, if you’re going to whip out the old placards and get bolshie, do it for the right reasons, please.
And if you think that Ken Robinson makes a good point, please repost the video on your blog, facebook page, twitter feed or whatever else the kids are doing these days.
Yep, I’m back to semi-egomaniacal ranting. Refreshing, isn’t it?