For decades non-aware politicians have dabbled in education, sticking their often unprofessional oar in where it wasn't wanted and causing more stress on hard-pressed teachers. Ideas from non-classroom Wallies that weren't needed, and in some cases completely loopy ones were swept in.

Very under-paid and under-valued teachers kept up with positive, proved educational trends in spite of the ivory tower theorists and others who dreamed up (it's hard to find a suitable word here) time-taking useless crud to add to teacher burn-out.

Over the last nine years of the National government things became worse. Finally teachers have done what they should have done several times over the last 20 years, and have withdrawn services for one day.

Being professional people I'm sure many didn't find this easy. The pity is they waited too long. Finally they have a sympathetic government, well aware of their just claims and ready to up-grade the whole system, but can only do so in steps because of the mismanaged system they have inherited from a failed Right Wing dinosaur party, hopefully on the road to extinction.

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The upgrading needed has been promised, but in steps as it can be afforded, as soon as possible. NZEI should have downed chalk during the nine years of the last government but didn't. A mistake causing teachers to now be more sympathetic to the present government's inherited problems.

Back in 1972 some of us were accused of being reds under the bed when we suggested NZEI take strike action. The squeaking cog gets the oil.

Patience is now needed teachers.

Sam McHarg
Kerikeri