Teachers unions around the world clash with governments over school reopening plans

By: | September 14, 2020

From picket lines to Zoom calls and even jail cells, the pandemic has thrust teachers unions to the forefront of the debate over education during the coronavirus pandemic. How to safely reopen schools has become a central question, with school closures affecting well over a billion students, according to the United Nations, in addition to economies and daily life for working families.

Around the world, there has been “a lot of brinkmanship” with governments, said David Edwards, the general secretary of Education International, a Brussels-based international federation of teachers unions. “Teachers unions are trying to find a way to get their kids safely back to school.”

During the pandemic, most near-strikes never came to pass, Edwards said. When strikes proceeded, questions around reopening were rarely the only impetus, with the pandemic bringing to the forefront preexisting grievances.

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