The Logic of the Lockout

Danish education is expensive.

We want to save money.

Salaries are the most expensive part of running a school.

If teachers take more lessons on, we can fire surplus teachers and save on salaries.

If teachers are not paid for the time they spend preparing for and assessing lessons, we can save on salaries.

If we close down special needs units, we can put those students in the classes that were already there, we can fire special needs teachers (who get paid extra), and save on salaries.

If we say class sizes should be larger than they are now, we can fire surplus teachers and save on salaries.

Let’s pretend we are putting special needs students in larger classes with teachers who have had no extra training, to help them. So the voters don’t get angry. Let’s claim, when teachers fail to reach a significant minority of their students under these conditions, it is because they are bad teachers.

Let’s bring up that some studies have claimed Danish schoolchildren are underachieving.

Let’s ignore studies that are ambiguous or claim that Danish schoolchildren have been improving recently.

Let’s ignore studies that say teacher quality is the factor that most affects achievement (increasing teacher quality might mean increases in salary)

Let’s say:-

If Danish schoolchildren were in school longer, they wouldn’t underachieve anymore.

Let’s avoid:-

International studies do not suggest there is a relationship between contact hours and achievement.

Let’s suggest that teachers have a working time agreement in place where there is no upper limit of lessons they teach a week and some lessons will have no paid time to prepare or assess.

Let’s say no other job has paid preparation time. (And ignore that soldiers de-brief, lawyers research, politicians consult with civil servants, doctors write and read medical notes, plumbers get supplies from the wholesaler). Let’s pretend preparation time means deciding what topic to teach each morning.

Let’s claim that the plan is in the best interests of the students.

If the unions refuse, let’s make the teachers have a month or two with no income and the parents have a month or two with no (or a lot fewer) lessons for their children.

Every time someone complains this is bullying or unacceptable behaviour or unfair on students, claim that the unions can stop this any time they want.

Claim that the changes are for the students. Not the budget. The students. Keep claiming it.

Run national slur campaigns in the press and online. Make a lot of claims that put teachers in a bad light.

Ignore that children and adult learners who do not attend state schools are affected by the lockout (but already have different outcomes at the end of their education and will not be affected by the folkeskole reforms that are the ‘reason’ for the lockout.)

Ignore that losing the goodwill of your staff does not improve productivity or work quality.

Ignore that students missing out on these weeks will not get this time back. Ignore that a twilight session or a summer school or a Saturday cannot undo the damage of an indefinite number of weeks away from school. Do not address that students and teachers may be unavailable for the catchup hours.

Save millions on salaries every day the teachers are punished for being in a union that is fighting to have their value recognised.

Praise yourself repeatedly for using a model of negotiation where, through cooperation, both parties reach a mutually satisfactory outcome.