I was there – cold, wet and angry!

It was cold.  It was very wet.  Even so, 12,000 people stood on Molesworth Street and gave a clear signal to the government that the budget cuts to education were wrong. I stood around amongst the sea of slogans – some of which were brilliant, (Battman Robin our kids, Taoiseach Leave our Kids Alone, All in all Batt’s just another brick in the Dáil, Off to China like a Batt our of Our hell, etc.)  There were about a dozen speakers most of who didn’t speak loudly enough, which was a pity.  To be honest and I don’t feel right saying this… I thought the Sinn Féin TD was the best of the lot.  There were a lot of great speakers and the ones who called a chorus of cheers and boos kept us going as the rain poured down.  After an hour and a half, it was over.

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Why are you protesting?

I thought I’d ask myself that question.  I’ve been listening to all the experts on the radio over the last week or so and have attended the INTO meetings but I’m not really sure that they are focussing on the right thing.  They all seem to be harping on about class sizes.  Now before I continue, I think that this is a key issue and I agree that class size is an important issue.

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What happened in the budget?

According to the INTO’s web site, the government have made the following cuts.  The INTO have christened it: “The dirty dozen.”  Fianna Gael decided that there were 32 cuts to education in the budget.  Next Wednesday, during mid-term break, a big rally protest will be held outside the Dáil.  I shall be there, hopefully with a banner in hand!  Read on to see “The Dirty Dozen Education Cuts”

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Protest – Wednesday 29th October, 6:30pm, Leinster House

Due to the government’s baffling idea that it would be a good thing to punish schoolchildren in this year’s budget, a protest has been arranged by the INTO at 6:30pm next Wednesday. The protest coincides with a motion that has been proposed by the Labour Party to reverse the cuts made in the budget affecting … Read more

CEC Decides on Action Plan Against Cuts

The following is taken directly from the INTO web site…
The Central Executive Committee of the INTO met today and decided on a further range of actions in the campaign against the attack on primary education in Budget 2009. The CEC decided on the following:

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Would you let this man be in charge of your child's education?

I’ve had a few days to calm myself down about the budget so I could write coherently about the mess that we’ve been put into.  Everyone is incredibly angry and rightly so; in fact, just looking at the picture on the left fills me with rage.  The man on the left is responsible for the education of every person in this country.  I thought Mary Hanafin was terrible…well she was, but this guy is the most useless politician I’ve ever seen.  He didn’t even have the brains to invent some originailty in his budget cuts.  Instead he decided to look back a few years ago when the government spent even less money on education and thought to himself…”hmmm, I’ll simply copy those ideas.”
So now we’re back to having a maximum of two language support teachers which won’t affect small schools but bigger schools will now have to use their General Allocation hours.  That means will children who were struggling have their hours cut for the greater good?
Now we will feel guilty for being sick.  Being a teacher means being with large (even larger now) groups of children.  Children spend their time diseased and, as teachers, we are very likely to pick one or two of these minor ailments up.  These colds, snuffles, sniffles, man-flus (or whatever you want to call them) last about a day or two if the teacher gets a bit of rest.  Now, in order not to let our children suffer, we will either have to come in and make ourselves sicker or go to a doctor (€60 down the drain) to get a piece of paper and a bit of rest in order for a sub to come in.  Never mind the inconvenioence for principals and unemployed qualified teachers who got some sub days.

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A Smart Lunch

Today I had the pleasure of meeting the Market Development Manager from Steljes, who supply Smart Boards in Ireland. I was looking forward to this meeting because I like Smart Boards. I like the way you can use your finger to interact with the board. As far as I know, it’s the only board that allows this. However, some companies try to badmouth this with scaremongering and I was interested to see what they had to say. I also wanted to see what their plans were for their new version of Smart Notebook 10, which I’ve heard rumours about.

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Cheap Laptops

I took a visit to PC World today as I was in Liffey Valley and it looks like there’s going to be some fun and games with cheap ultra mini laptops.  Pictured here is a mini laptop from a company called Asus.  The screen is only 10 inches and it runs its own Linux operating system.  It also has a 2 or 4GB hard drive, which isn’t very much.  The cool thing about these laptops though is their size and cheapness.  You can’t run any Windows software on them (well, technically you can but they would work way too slowly) but nowadays you can get good stuff for free on the web.  This model (2GB) costs €269 whereas the 4GB model would set you back €299.

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Two meetings with Promethean

I’ve had a fairly surreal couple of weeks since I published my findings about Interactive Whiteboards. Promethean Ireland emailed me to arrange a meeting. Apparently, my survey has had an effect in the company and they wished to discuss it with me. As I was curious, more than anything, I agreed and met the sales and marketing heads from the company.

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