Teachers, parents and students unite to fight the GERM

Janet Downs's picture
Teachers, parents, students and communities are uniting to fight the Global Education Reform Movement: the GERM which is killing our schools. That was the message from the International Conference Global Education 'Reform': Building Resistance and Solidarity held on 24 May at NUT HQ, Hamilton House, London.

We heard from Chicago where the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) joined with parents to prevent school closures and start conversations about who are really the educational “experts”.

We heard how the CTU put forward its own positive proposals to reform schools as an alternative to school closure or “turnaround” by handing them to charter management companies. These included:

1Defending public education as an agent of democratic expression;

2Fighting for an equitable, high quality education for all pupils in partnership with parents, students and the community;

3Taking back education from the bean counters by resisting standardized testing.

We heard from British Columbia where, despite Canada doing well in PISA tests, GERM is promoted as a way of keeping Canada ahead in the “global race”. But we heard how the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTFA) joined with parents to defend public education. It builds networks and international links. It studies the impact of trade agreements on education*. It works for social justice including gender equity; anti-poverty and anti-racism.

We heard from Latin American countries where students, teachers and their supporters march under the banner, “¡La educación no se vende; se defiende!” Education is not for sale; defend it!

Education is not for sale: it is not a service to be bought, sold and denied to those who can’t afford it. It’s more than two or three easily-tested subjects. It’s more than sitting pupils in front of plasma screens. And it's more than subjecting children to published programmes delivered by untrained "teachers" who don't vary from the script.


A broad, balanced education is the right of every child. It’s not for sale; it must be defended.



38 Degrees has details of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TIP), a secretive deal being pursued by the US and EU. Leaked details suggest it would:

1Allow companies to sue governments which passed laws which might reduce companies’ ability to make profit;

2Relax rules which protect consumers, the environment and health services;

3Stop governments from reversing or halting privatisation of public services (eg health and education).

Follow this link to sign the 38 Degrees petition asking the British Government not to join TIP.
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FJM's picture
Wed, 28/05/2014 - 09:08

American teachers' unions, big donors to the Democrats, have opposed every reform. Given the USA'sd not-very-wonderful education system, we should not take too much notice of them.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 28/05/2014 - 10:10

FJM - the "reforms" of which you speak threaten education (see my post on GERM). And Obama is in favour of these reforms ("Race to the Top") so he's not been influenced by union donations. Instead, policies (eg environment, voting rights) in the US are influenced by big money (eg from the Koch brothers) which threatens democracy. See video below (education section is 16mins to 30mins; deliberate union busting legislation 35.44 to 37 mins)


Or watch the whole of this video which was broadcast as part of BBC 4 "Why Poverty?" season:


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