Wave of student strikes set to start on Sunday

High school students to start summer vacation.

Children at school (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Children at school
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Parents of elementary school pupils set to strike again on Sunday after the Forum of Regional Parents’ Unions came away from an unsatisfactory meeting about classroom overcrowding with the Education Ministry Thursday morning.
According to the forum, the decision made at the meeting was to form a joint working group between the forum, the National Parents Association and the ministry.
“At the end of the meeting, the representatives of the Forum of Regional Parents’ Unions left with the understanding that there was no substantial progress towards changing the standard to 32 students,” read the statement. “It was also understood that no guidelines are in place to prevent the convergence of classrooms, which will lead to the opening of classrooms with as many of 40 students.”
Thursday’s meeting at the ministry was set at the request of MK Ya’acov Margi (Shas), chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, who previously held a committee meeting Monday morning to discuss the issue of classroom overcrowding with the forum in attendance.
In the meeting, Margi made it clear that he expected the Education Ministry to work towards the goal of a maximum of 32 pupils per classroom, as demanded by the forum and as recommended by the Simchon Report, commissioned by previous education minister Shai Piron.
At the initial committee meeting, the forum agreed to Margi’s request that they pause the classroom disruptions that had been going on across the country in the weeks leading up to the committee meeting.
Parents had been, up until that time, keeping their children at home for an hour or two in protest of mainly elementary schools, with some strikes occurring in preschools and middle schools.
After the meeting on Thursday at the Education Ministry, the forum has decided to roll out an additional wave of parent- led strikes starting on Sunday at elementary schools in Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan and Givatayim. The actions are expected to culminate in a nation-wide strike before the end of the elementary school year on July 1.
At the same time, the forum is calling for an acceleration in the dialogue with the Education Ministry.
“The Forum of Regional Parents’ Unions calls upon the government of Israel, the Knesset, mayors and heads of local authorities, teachers unions and anyone else who cares about the matter to join and support our actions,” concluded the statement.
In the meantime, some 700,000 high school students, from grades seven through 12, are finishing their school year on Friday.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett released a statement addressing the students, requesting that they stay alert and protect themselves while having fun during their summer vacation.
“Enjoy the vacation. Take advantage of the summer holiday to travel in our beautiful country, volunteer and most importantly take care of yourselves.
There are too many dangers and not enough reasons to take risks, don’t forget that,” said Bennett.
“Thank you to the teachers and the educational staff for a wonderful school year,” he concluded.
The “A Different Summer” program being run by the Education Ministry this summer encourages students to utilize their vacation for rest and personal growth.
One of the programs the ministry is operating is a “digital camp” to help students in grades five through eight keep up with their English and mathematical knowledge during the summer. Registration for the camp is open and more information can be found through the schools.
Information about activities, events and discounts available throughout the summer are available on the ministry’s “Cool Summer” app at Google Play and the Apple App Store.