France’s public school teachers joined in the massive general strike in France last week, organized by unions and the “Yellow Jackets” (Gilets Jaunes) movement against pension reform.  For teachers, pension reform being pushed by the administration of President Macron will mean far smaller retirement payments, because retirement payments will calculated from the start of a teacher’s career rather than their last paychecks, which reflect their experience.

Effects of the government’s previous education reforms which mirror the policies elites have pushed throughout the world are already visible in the schools in neighborhoods of low-income families, often immigrants. In these schools, 10% of teachers are contractors who may not be qualified. And often classes are simply not held.  Pupils have lost 20% of their class hours due to a lack of substitute teachers. This past September a public school kindergarten principal in one of these suburbs committed suicide, citing isolation and exhaustion.
More labor action is planned for this week.

More information about teachers' involvement in last week's action can be found here.