French teachers’ protest group growing
An “angry teacher” protest group launched on Facebook in mid-December has grown to around 64,000 members – one in every 14 teachers.
Les Stylos Rouges en colère, a reference to the red pens that teachers use, has outlined 13 demands. They include better recognition – both in pay and from society as a whole – and better teaching conditions.
Teachers can post personal grievances on the site.
One said: “I have 28 pupils, from three year groups, and I earn less than €1,700 a month.
“I am disillusioned.”
Another said: “I would have liked to have had some support when a pupil hit me. But the disciplinary panel told me I shouldn’t take these matters so much to heart.”
Teachers say they have lost 40% of their spending power in 30 years and are now among the lowest paid in Europe.
They want smaller classes and more help for children with special needs. They also want to halt planned lycée reforms to allow time for more consultation, and respect from pupils, parents, education bosses and the French in general.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told France Inter the government has already started work on improving spending power.
He said: “A teacher starting at the end of this presidential term of office will earn €1,000 more than at the beginning of this presidency.”
He said more than a million people were employed by Education National: “This makes it difficult to make a huge effort. However, it is what we are doing.
“Already tax exemptions on overtime will mean more than €250million going to teachers.”