About 100 educators stood united on the doorstep of Todd McClay's Rotorua office chanting, singing and waving bright yellow signs, protesting the proposal to move to global funding for schools.
Hundreds of vehicles tooted in support of the protest, which closed the NZEI Te Riu Roa's four-day annual conference.
The protest was also a preview of a bus tour and actions planned in the next school term to draw parents and the public's attention to education underfunding and the Government's "radical" education reform agenda.
"Schools and early childhood centres need better funding not bulk funding," NZEI Te Riu Roa president Louise Green told the crowd.
"Today's action is indicative of the sort of activity our children's educators have committed to in order to win better funding and stop the Government's radical education reform agenda.
"Educators are fired up for better funding for schools and early childhood centres. Today's action sends a message to the Government of the kinds of activity we are prepared to take to win a better outcome for kids' learning.
"We will be launching a better funding bus tour in the major centres at the beginning of term four that will be talking to parents outside school gates and educators will be meeting with their local MPs about the Government funding proposals.
Ms Green said New Zealand children deserved the best education in the world and we could afford to provide it.
"That's why the funding review needs to increase the total amount of funding, rather than just shifting the same amount of money around the system creating winners and losers.
"The Government's bulk funding proposal is bad for children's learning and should be taken off the table. It will lead to larger class sizes and fewer teachers by removing the current teacher student ratio protections.
Mokoia Intermediate Year 7 teacher Glen Law said it was evident the community was starting to realise what this proposal would mean for their children.
"If we were to move to global funding it would mean principals would conceivable have to make a choice between 'will we hire a new teacher to keep the ratios down or will we paint'. While in theory bulk funding sounds good, it's setting up schools to fail.
"It's got to be about our tamariki and what they need. At the moment the ministry funds teachers, but that will go. We could end up with schools with ratios of 35, 40 children as principals try to divide the money we've got to cover everything.
"We need to get people to understand what it is all about. People need to look behind what is being spoken and what it means... More and more people are showing their support as they become aware of this."
The protest lasted about 40 minutes with members leaving stickers and signs on the windows of Mr McClay's office.
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