You rightly call the IT out on it’s pretty blatant support for League Tables for schools. It’s interesting to match that support with the same journal’s attacks on fee paying schools in more recent weeks. The same paper has never been shy of poking at my union the ASTI, in fact recently the education editor wanted me to comment on behalf of the union on the announced audit of fee paying schools because the ASTI was at that stage silent on the issue.
I thank you for defending the ASTI from the charge of being ‘a lobby group’ and wholeheartedly support your description of Ed Walsh but when you say the following about the ASTI: ‘the efforts of some within it to shift away from the union movement were misconceived and elitist and I’d suggest had long term negative impacts on the perception of teaching and teachers in general’, I think we need some context.
The ASTI moved away from Congress around ten years ago because of the perception that educational issues where being sidelined at ICTU and after a difficult period of industrial action the membership felt a lack of support and solidarity from other unions was worth taking action over. Rather than the decision to disaffliate being a primary reason for the falling opinion of the ASTI, that percieved shift in public opinion was driven in part by the same newspaper we are discussing. Many teachers have never encounter that changed attitude, it is a construct which facillitates the same agenda you’ve been decrying.
Anyway, the ASTI has reaffiliated in more recent times and is very much inside the tent, as the over-riding of decisions on issues like Croke Park (which the ASTI initially rejected) has proved. The four teachers unions are exploring their common ground at the moment, we can only guess at the atitiude of the IT to that prospect!
The issue of League Tables is dealt with by the General Secretary of the ASTI in the latest edition of our journal ASTIR on pages 26 and 27.