School children in class.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
As the close of the elementary school year draws near, the Forum of Regional Parents’ Unions has decided to intensify its struggle for smaller classroom sizes and has called for a nationwide strike this Sunday.
Parents in some regions will continue striking until the end of the school year on Tuesday of next week.
The forum also announced Tuesday that if there is no satisfactory agreement regarding the reduction of class sizes before the end of the summer vacation, parents would not allow the school year to begin in September.
The forum called upon teachers, principals, mayors and heads of regional councils to join the fight and refuse to open schools in the coming school year if the issue of class sizes is not addressed by the Education Ministry.
The issue of class sizes was addressed in the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee on Monday of last week, when committee chairman MK Ya’acov Margi (Shas) called on the Education Ministry to limit the number of students in a classroom as soon as this upcoming year.
At Margi’s request, the forum put strikes on hold after the Knesset committee meeting, pending a meeting with the ministry last Thursday.
After an unsatisfactory meeting with Education Ministry director-general Michal Cohen on Thursday, the forum resumed its strikes on Friday morning with a wave of classroom disruptions across the country.
In the forum’s statement released on Tuesday afternoon, it accused the ministry of ceasing to hold talks with the organization, which represents parents from 120 regional authorities across the country.
“As a cover for the undemocratic and incomprehensible conduct, the [education] ministry announced it is holding so-called negotiations with an organization that barely represents its 13 members, and is funded with hundreds of thousands of shekels by the Education Ministry and is dependent upon it,” it said, referring to the National Parents’ Association.
“This shameful and problematic spectacle throws dirt in the eyes of the public and is a grave harm to the country’s most expensive resource – the future of our children and the future of the country,” said the forum.
The forum went on to state that it is willing to immediately come to the negotiating table at the request of the education minister.
The Education Ministry emphasized that school will take place regularly on Sunday and called on parents “not to give into pressure” and to send their children to school.
It also stated that it is in talks with the National Parents’ Association and will continue to discuss the matter with it.
The National Parents’ Association confirmed that it is in talks with the ministry and stated that “disrupting the education system is not always the way to achieve your objectives.”