Teachers, parents and students are uniting to defend public education in the province of Quebec in Canada. The provincial government is planning deep cuts to education including increasing class sizes which could see as many as 35 to 40 to a room in some schools. Moreover the government proposes to no longer take children's special needs into account when determining class size, and is cutting funding for 800 special needs teachers.

Quebec teachers are already some of the lowest paid in Canada, and now the Province wants to increase their working week from 32 to 35 hours. However the teachers have made it clear that the issue is about much more than pay - it is about defending public education in the province. 

Over 20,000 parents took part in protests last week as part of a movement called 'je protege mon ecole publique' (I am protecting my public school). Parents, many in black, as well as teachers and students joined together to form human chains around their schools. Meanwhile school students have set up a facebook group, Students for Schools, asking for an end to the ban on extra-curricular activities, which was the first part of the teachers' action, but putting the blame squarely at the door of the government, not the union. As they say on the page: 'we are finally being recognized as a group supporting the teachers' union, not opposing it.'

Teachers at francophone schools will be taking their first day of strike action on September 30th. Teachers at anglophone schools are also deciding whether to take strike action. Meanwhile parents are planning another day of demonstrations and human chains around schools on October 1st.