International Movement for Public Education
Photo:© 2011 Reuters | Andrea Comas
Secondary school students in
Madrid demonstrate against
budget cuts and privatization,
Photo:© 2011 Reuters |Fredy Builes
A student tries to erase riot police at a
protest against government attacks on
public universities in Bogotá,
Privatization, standardized tests, funding cuts, attacks on teachers’ unions and contracts—the issues that are central to teacher activism in the United States are international. In country after country, teachers and students are fighting for the same things.
In Chile, university and secondary students have been protesting for six months against the privatization and high cost of education in that country. In September, demonstrations in Santiago drew as many as 90,000 students.
Meanwhile, teachers and students have been demonstrating and striking against education cuts across southern Europe—in Spain, Italy, and Greece. They are protesting the push by the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund to impose another round of budget cuts that would have disastrous effects on education in those countries. According to the website teachersolidarity.com, Greek school students occupying their schools threw CDs, which they had been given instead of books, at the parliament building. In Italy, protesters carried banners saying “Save the Schools, Not the Banks!’”
As we went to press, teachers and students in Buenos Aires, Argentina, were striking against new laws that would base decisions about teacher hiring and promotion on a computerized rating system.
Secondary school students in Madrid demonstrate against budget cuts and privatization, October 2011.
Gay-Straight Alliances Show Long-Term Benefits
New research has found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth who attend middle or high schools with gay-straight alliance organizations (GSAs) have better mental health as young adults, are less likely to drop out of high school, and are more likely to attend college. The study, which was based on a Family Acceptance Project survey of LGBT young adults and published in a recent issue of Applied Developmental Science, also showed that the benefits of GSAs diminish as levels of LGBT school victimization increase. In other words, GSAs are an important piece of creating an LGBT-supportive school atmosphere, but can’t be the only piece.
According to Caitlin Ryan, co-author of the study and director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco St.University: “This new study on the benefits of GSAs to health and education adds to our growing understanding of the importance of social environments and the need to provide institutional support for LGBT youth to promote well-being in adulthood.”