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Cahir/Clonmel Local Election candidate Martin Lonergan has said he will actively support schools and parents who are attempting to resist the proposed overhaul of the Junior Cycle programme being forced through by the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn. Mr Lonergan was speaking after the most recent research on the matter indicates that parents are backing teachers in their concerns about the new system:

?There is plenty of anecdotal evidence from parents on the doorsteps which supports the view that asking teachers under the new regime to grade and assess their own students will create a range of difficulties for both teachers and parents alike. I would share the views expressed by the ASTI that If teachers are to assume the role of marking their own students for certification, that will lead to genuine concerns around a deterioration in the pupil/teacher, teacher/parent relationship.

There are also other very real challenges in terms of maintaining equity in the system, or more to the point, around compounding already existing inequities. Currently every student receives a Junior Certificate regardless of where they go to school, but under the new proposals by Minister Quinn, an award from one school in a locality may be seen as more prestigious than an award from another.

What is more worrying about all of this is the unwillingness of the Minister to take seriously the clear view being expressed by teachers about the fairness of this new model.

Teachers support change and are innovative in their approach to education but this model presents a host of difficulties that must be addressed before it is steamrolled through.

To my mind it is another clear example of the Minister forcing through an agenda that is very far from where the concerns of parents and teachers are at. We have seen this in his obsession with degrading religious education in denominational schools and his willingness to leave children like those in Clonmel Gael Scoil to languish in a substandard building. It is time the Minister stopped talking and started listening to parents instead,? concluded Mr Lonergan.