Ask me why I’m voting Yes

Ask me why I’m voting Yes.

For all our friends in crisis.

For all the nurses, midwives and doctors I know who have to carry a copy of the Constitution when caring for my pregnant friends.

For the shade in legislation, not the black and white of the Constitution.

For all the parents who have to make decisions they’d rather not make.

For all the women I know who travelled to another country for their medical care, and never said a word.

For any woman who has ever felt trapped in her own body.

For all the taxi bus and train drivers, ferry workers and pilots who brought our sisters abroad for care they should get at home.

For shame to go away.

For Ireland to face its self.

For the bereaved.

For the anonymous.

For empathy.

For the truth.

For the raped.

For the women who can’t share their stories, who can’t voice their pain.

For anyone who can change their mind when faced with the reality of the 8th.

For my wife and daughters.

For listening to women.

For Savita.

For Ann.

For repeal.

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Ten things the new Minister for Education should do, straight away

1. Provide parents and schools with clarity on the provision of SNAs in advance of new school year, the marginalisation of special needs students is not something you want to be defending at the next election. Read this

2. Restore the full provisions of the EPSEN Act. The act has never been properly implemented and has been eroded repeatedly since the ‘crisis’ began, leaving those most in need least well off. And restore Guidance cuts while you’re at it.

3. End Managerialism in Irish education, a Minister FOR Education should be a minister AGAINST bureaucracy, business models or neo-liberalism.

4. Review the implementation of the Junior Cycle with teachers, managers, parents and students on board. The clock is ticking and you’ve been handed a time bomb.

5. Save History. Make yourself some good press.

6. Tackle teacher supply. Entry into the teaching profession is tortuous, look at matching graduates with imminent vacancies and obvious shortages. And give teachers a single pay scale.

7. Restore pupil teacher ratios at all levels to 2007 levels. That way you could claim credit for improving students lives at all levels and create employment.

8. Engage with teachers don’t send officials, deal with the education sector’s interests face to face, not at arms length. Being Minister is about more than announcing initiatives, it’s about bringing out the best in teachers, the talents of students and the support of parents and you can’t count on any of that if you don’t talk to them.

9. Place education at the heart of the recovery: without investment in education, there will be no long term recovery. Education doesn’t have a price, it has value. Fund a new ICT investment in schools and colleges for example, to drive the recovery (when it comes).

10. End the exploitation of workers on school buildings, practice what your government preaches about fairness, equity and employment.

And by the way…

Follow up on promises to Repeal FEMPI, legislation only applied to secondary teachers.
Delete Section 37 of the Employment Equality Act, another promise you have to keep.

Remember education is for living, not to make a living.

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