Spanish Teachers Strike to Protest Education Budget Cuts

Posted September 20th, 2011 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Thousands of public school teachers in Spain's central Madrid region went on strike Tuesday to protest education budget and staff cuts, as the country tries to improve its financial situation.

The strikes are expected to last at least two days and will affect at least 300 schools. Teachers in other areas around the country are also planning work stoppages or protests against the budget cuts.

Teachers insist education should be spared from budget cuts. Unions say increasing the number of classroom hours for teachers will lead to poorer quality education. They say teachers will have less time to prepare for classes and meet with students, and will be assigned to teach subjects they know nothing about.

While recognizing that Spain must take action to cut its deficit to avoid an international bailout, teachers say education should be spared to help the country reinvent itself for the future.

Spaniards angered about the country's dire economic situation have been staging regular protests since May. Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates in the 17-nation eurozone and one of the highest public debts.