Tomorrow marks the end of the third week of no public school classes throughout the country. For the past three weeks 75,000 teachers have been on strike (“en huelga”), and with good reason, but the ripple effects have been huge.
From February through now, 1,400 teachers have not received a single paycheck due to a glitch in the automatic deposit system. At least 13,000 are owed back pay in varying amounts. This has put serious strains on their families, causing several of them to not be able to buy food for their families, make payments on loans, or pay rent. It is a mess. So the strike began and teachers throughout the country have refused to work for the past three weeks. Thousands of people not getting paid for months of work, no school throughout an entire country for weeks at a time…
As a result, working parents have had to leave children at home alone that are too young, find childcare for their kids throughout the day, or bring them to work where they just sit and try to stay out of the way. Without school, the school lunch (and breakfast) programs that normally feed 675,000 students have been suspended, leaving those children to find 2 meals a day somewhere else. Children’s homes throughout the country, including Hogar de Vida, have been put in a tight spot trying to find extra caregivers for all of these children that are normally in school for a significant portion of the day. They also have to use nonexistent funds to pay these extra workers. And hundreds of thousands of children are missing a month of school. The government is now saying that this huge chunk of missed classes will have to be made up at some point and standardized test schedules will need to be adjusted. Like I said, it is a mess.
The government has announced that it will not be able to resolve the issue until May 28 and teachers have stated that they will continue to strike up until that point. So please be praying for all of the different groups affected by this situation. Pray for teachers who are struggling financially. Pray for parents who have the added stress of not having a safe place for their children to go. Pray for all of the children’s homes that are having to come up with creative solutions to the problem. Pray for the kids whose routine and education have been abruptly interrupted. And pray that the government truly will resolve the situation soon.
Another ripple effect of the strike is that James has not been able to do after school tutoring at La California for the past three weeks and we had to cancel our Saturday event with the 5th graders scheduled for this Saturday. The doors of the school will not be opened for us to work with these kids until the strike is over. Another reason to pray!