Barcelona schools to strike on Tuesday, March 15
School boards send Education minister joint letter expressing their "discomfort" in unprecedented gesture
BarcelonaIn an almost unprecedented gesture of unity, all 200 public schools in Barcelona have sent a joint letter to Education minister Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, in which they convey their "discomfort over communication and resource management". This would seem to indicate that the first of the five days of strikes called in school will have a massive take-up. In addition, schools have started to inform families that they will strike on Tuesday 15th.
The day after the minister sent all teachers a letter, school boards have written a joint letter, advanced by the Diari de l'Educació, in which they remind the minister that for two years they have "readjusted" their organisation and have "put aside" their personal lives to manage the pandemic and that, on the other hand, they have felt the department's "significant disdain" towards their work, both in the way changes have been announced, always through the press and without allowing schools to take part in the process. Thus, school heads have expressed their concerns and complaints: they are "worried" that the inclusive school decree has not been rolled out (they say they lack "human resources, materials and teacher training" to address diversity), they warn that they feel "suffocated and tired" due to the volume of changes announced without consensus (school digital strategy, requirement of a C2 in Catalan for all teachers, innovation programmes...), they warn that they are "uninformed about how to act" in the face of some families' demands that 25% of classes be taught in Spanish (they demand "the department takes legal responsibility" so that school boards cannot be sued) and also ask teaching teams be given more coordination hours so that they can become more involved in the "reflection and organization" of educational projects, as well as increase staff numbers, maintaining the reinforcements hired during covid, which are "indispensable".
The strike was originally called in response to the Department's decision to bring forward the start of the school year and switch to morning-only classes in September. School heads point out that they are "anxious" that staff will not be assigned a school in time to prepare for the new year, and they also demand more details on the new curricula and its deployment. Faced with this general unease, the school heads demand "more human and economic resources" and more "communication and trust" with teaching teams, and propose a meeting with Cambray. "For a long time we, school management teams, have been taking on complicated situations without feeling the complicity of the department and we are exhausted. We would like to reverse this situation. If this is not the case, do not doubt that we will make our voice heard," they warn.
In parallel, schools boards have begun to contact families to convey the "widespread dissatisfaction" of the teaching staff and announce that they will strike on the 15th. Although officially 5 days of strike have been called (15, 16, 17, 29 and 30 for various reasons, and also the 23 against the ruling establishing 25% of classes must be taught in Spanish), some centers have already said that they are making these demands their own and will seek a unitary strike on Tuesday. "It is because of all this that as a collective we say enough, education cannot be improvised," they add.