Names of teachers in liberal union to be released

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Names of teachers in liberal union to be released

The Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union has been a thorn in the side of local governments with its alleged political activities. But now the table might be turning.

Last Friday, the Seoul Central District Court dismissed a request by Education Minister Ahn Byong-man that the names of the union members not be made public. After the announcement, the Education Ministry said it had sent a list of the union member names to the National Assembly as requested.

Grand National Party lawmaker Cho Jeon-hyeok, also a member of the National Assembly’s education, science and technology committee, received the names. “By April 20, we plan to reveal the teachers’ names, their schools and subjects [they teach] on the Internet so that teachers and students will be able to find out about them easily,” he said.

Previously, students and parents were able to learn the total number of the union members through the Web site www.schoolinfo.go.kr. However they now will be able to check whether the students’ teachers are associated with the union. This development has sent shock waves through the union. Officials say around 340 members have dropped out of the union since the court’s dismissal of the Education Ministry’s request. Shortly after its legalization in 1999, the union saw a rise in membership, reaching its peak in 2003 with 93,860 members. Since then, however, the number has dropped. By March of last year, the union had 69,530 members, or 20 percent of all teachers nationwide.

Since all civil servants and educational workers in Korea are banned from collective political activity, the union has said its members are simply exercising their rights to free speech.

Last year, the union held an anti-government protest and released a statement saying that the Lee Myung-bak administration was endangering democracy. Last month, police discovered that 120 union members and the Korean Government Employees’ Union had registered as members on the Democratic Labor Party Web site.

Police said they suspect the DLP collected around 17 billion won from the teachers and other civil servants.

Currently, the union is resisting the court’s ruling. Um Min-young, spokesman for the union said that the union will apply for another injunction against GNP lawmaker Cho to stop him from revealing member names. He said that doing so would be an invasion of and a breach of individual rights.

One union member said that “the ideological conflict that will surface in schools after the revelation of member names is unimaginable” adding that revealing the names of members is a means the government is using to destroy the union.

Many parents and school principals however, welcomed the new plan. Chae Hyo-jin, 41, a mother of a child in high school said that she “will be able to prepare for any circumstance [regarding her child’s education] only when I know the political tendencies of the teachers.”

Lee Nam-yeong, head of the teachers’ cooperation division at the Education Ministry said, “I doubt that a movement [by parents] to refuse letting a teacher [educate their children] will surface, but this new revelation will make it possible for parents to check what kind of education their children are getting.”


By Cho Jae-eun, Lee Won-jean [jainnie@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

법원, 전교조가 낸 가처분신청 기각, 6만여 명 이름 내달 인터넷 공개, 전교조 “해체 의도의 결정판” 반발


전국 학교별 전교조 소속 교사 6만여 명의 실명이 다음 달 중 인터넷에 공개될 전망이다. 교육과학기술부는 26일 “법원이 전교조가 낸 ‘교원노조 가입 교사 명단 수집과 제출 금지 가처분 신청’을 기각함에 따라 전교조 실명이 담긴 학교별 명단을 국회에 제출했다”고 밝혔다.

이날 자료를 건네받은 한나라당 조전혁 의원은 “늦어도 4월 20일까지 법적 검토를 거쳐 인터넷에 전교조 교사의 이름, 소속 학교, 과목을 학부모들이 알기 쉽게 공개할 방침”이라고 말했다. 그간 학교정보 공개 사이트인 ‘학교 알리미(www.schoolinfo.go.kr)’를 통해 학교별 전교조 인원수를 알 수는 있었지만 학부모가 특정 교사가 전교조인지 아닌지를 알기는 쉽지 않았다.

조 의원이 밝힌 공개 방식은 단순하다. 일단 교사 이름을 치면 전교조 여부를 확인할 수 있고 학교별로 전교조 인원수를 한눈에 비교해서 학교 선택에 참고할 수 있도록 하겠다는 것이다. 조 의원은 “현재까지 ‘학교 알리미’에 공개한 명수가 맞는지 비교 확인하고 장기적으로 수능성적과 전교조 교사 수와의 상관성도 분석할 예정”이라고 말했다.
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