&#91EDITORIALS&#93Education must come first

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[EDITORIALS]Education must come first

The Citizens’ Coalition of Education Community, an education-related group formed in protest to the much-troubled Korea Teachers and Educational Workers Union, was launched Saturday. The launching of the group comes at a time when the government, teachers in the union, the Korea Federation of Teachers’ Associations and parents are raging a battle over the proposed National Education Information Database.
While the group has not specified its future activities, it is expected to focus on criticizing the teachers’ union. While lending concern to the possible escalation of a power struggle between various education groups, it is hardly unexpected that such a group would be formed considering the recent activities of the teachers’ union.
Six incidents of street demonstrations by members of the union appear to show these teachers’ primary interests lie not in their students nor in education but in their political agenda. A court ruled recently that union teachers who boycotted classes must pay each student and his parents 1.3 million won ($1,080). While the union engages in flagrantly illegal activities, its size and influence make it hard for authorities to deliver punishment.
This is why concerned parents and citizens felt the necessity of an organization that could stand up to the union. We hope the new group will curb the dogmatism of the union and contribute to an environment in which teachers can focus attention on the education of students. We also hope the new group will prevent teachers in the union from holding “awareness classes” and “coordinated anti-American classes” that confuse the values of young students.
The group had it right when it said in its opening ceremony declaration that “We must show a firm stance against those social forces that obstruct the healthy growth and development of our second generation citizens.” We hope this new group, consisting of teachers, parents, principals, retired teachers, civic groups and even a former prime minister, will truly find a way to normalize the education of the second generation of this society.

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