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Teachers’ Union: We’re Not Babysitters

Teachers’ Union head criticizes call to shorten vacation, accuses mothers of ‘looking for a babysitter.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/1/2013, 1:33 PM

High school students
High school students
Flash90

Teachers’ Union head Ron Erez has sent a letter to union members clarifying the union’s stance against a proposal that would shorten the summer vacation, and give schools Fridays off instead.

“One spin follows another,” he said. “Apparently the media is disappointed that the Iran issue is worn out and ‘two states for two peoples’ isn’t so interesting… They are looking for a new topic.”

“And here it is, ‘A woman at the market said…'  and now everyone is talking about vacation,” he wrote.

“We’re talking about a group of mothers of young children who are looking for a babysitter, for free, during the summer,” he wrote. “They’ve come up with a bizarre plan: shorten the summer vacation by three weeks, during which teachers will keep teaching, and in exchange they will get vacation on Fridays.”

“They don’t understand that if, G-d forbid, the program is implemented, they will need to watch their children on Fridays,” he added.

“We, the teachers’ union, will not let the school system become a ‘yo-yo.’ Not when it comes to vacation, not when it comes to the Bagrut [matriculation] tests, not when it comes to learning programs, etc.”

Erez noted that two years ago parents asked then-Education Minister Gidon Saar to shorten the summer vacation. Those were “the same parents,” he argued. When Saar moved the start of the school year back from September 1 to August 27 “not two days went by and parents were screaming, again, and in the media, that they were not prepared to shorten the vacation because they had already bought plane tickets and did not want to lose either the tickets or the vacation,” he said.

“And here, again, the same mothers are complaining that their vacation days don’t match the school system’s days, and they want to make a change, again. And again the media is covering it.”

Erez had praise for Education Minister Shai Piron, who he said “will bring a healthy brain” to the ministry. However, he said, if it becomes necessary, “We will know how to stand and fight for teachers’ rights, their conditions at work and their employment and financial security. I promise you this.”