Letters to the editor
Hi my name is Lily-Alyce and I go to Bohally Intermediate School. It is my first year there. We have been told that it may be our last year to have technology and I feel sorry for year 7s next year because apparently we are not going to have tech.
I have liked tech ever since I first came to Bohally and have had a lot of fun in the tech centre. We have learned to do things with hard materials, soft materials, two food techs, biotech, sewing, planning room and video production.
I have learned why we make something, who it's for, when it is going to be used and where it is going to be used. In video production I made a video to present to teachers, parents and students. In food tech I made a lot of healthy food for healthy lunchbox options.
So please, don't let the Government take away our tech. Would you want this for your child?
If not, then come on Blenheim, don't let the Government take away our tech teachers because you are spoiling it for us kids.
I write to you today to voice my opposition to the recent Budget cuts made to the technology funding for intermediate schools.
I have had one boy pass through our local intermediate school, Bohally Intermediate School in Blenheim, and have two boys presently attending with my daughter to still attend in two years. The technology centre located beside this school provides such an important part of their education, hands-on experience, and these skills have been eagerly demonstrated at home with cooking skills and engineering skills that they have learned and practised.
To take away such an important part of their learning, hands-on experience, would be detrimental to all children's learning. Like coaching a sports team or music practice, the theory is important, but nothing beats hands-on practice.
Children need the encouragement to "give it a go" under a careful, controlled, safe environment so that they will gain confidence to tackle practical problems in the future years, no matter what field of work they end up in, and these are the skills that will be lost if the technology centre is closed due to under-funding.
Please quash this policy and I urge you to keep the status quo, and allow our children to be rewarded with the satisfaction of practical achievement.
We, the board members of Music Education NZ Aotearoa, wish to express our grave concern at the Government's decision to cut funding for specialist teachers in music and other arts and technology learning areas for our year 7 and 8 students.
For many students at this level, their involvement in music is what motivates them to attend school and there is much evidence that reinforces the importance of music in developing social, emotional, cognitive and perceptual motor skills so essential for this age group.
At this level very few generalist classroom teachers have the confidence, knowledge and skills needed to teach music, which is why specialist teachers are crucial to ensure quality programmes of music learning.
Such a loss in funding will impact negatively on our students' learning. It will mean, inevitably, that many teaching jobs will be lost and class sizes will substantially increase as schools try to fulfill their curriculum requirements.
We urge the minister to reconsider cutting this funding for the sake of our children and the future of artistic endeavours in Aotearoa.
SALLY BODKIN-ALLEN, MARY HORNER, MILLIE LOCKE, ERROL MOORE, CATHERINE SHORT, CELIA STEWART, ANDREW STOPPS, MARIA WINDER
Just commenting on your article and picture on the smoke trails over Mt Fyffe [Express, May 30].
I was on a jet flight from Christchurch to Wellington a while ago when our flight went into a holding pattern (circled) over the inland Kaikouras awaiting aircraft movements at the airport. We could see perfect "smoke rings" from our aircraft and others holding before us, and our pilot advised that holding here was quite common and resulted in vapour rings. The Kaikoura Star reported this the next day with speculation about "chemtrails" and other phenomena.
I am also a private pilot and have flown to and around Kaikoura and across the Kaikoura mountains to Nelson. The disappearing vapour trail might be explained by high-altitude winds.
Winds vary at different layers and the jetstream, where vapour trails form (from water vapour crystallising into ice), has very high-velocity winds that can vary thousands of feet, quite suddenly. The Kaikoura Range also creates a wind "wave" effect during strong westerly and northerly winds, which glider pilots use. Just like a sea wave, the crest and trough of the wave travel through the air, roughly west to east.
It looks like the photo shows a vapour trail which might have been affected by change in wind layers. However, the trail appears to be on an unusual track - commercial jets don't typically run east-west above Kaikoura; normally over Kaikoura they run north-south.
Clock towerI wonder if there has been any progress with the proposed study into the possible risk of the Seymour Square memorial tower collapsing in the event of a major earthquake.
I note the last major quake to hit Blenheim occurred in 1848 and the tower was unveiled in 1928.
The barriers around the tower are, in my opinion, a massive over-reaction by the council, as is the decision not to allow staff to keep the clock working. Has there been any kind of study done on foot traffic near to the tower and the number of significant earthquakes over time and then a calculation made on the odds of (a) the tower collapsing and (b) someone being injured by the collapse?
Many people were injured or killed in Christchurch when the facades of buildings collapsed, so why aren't there barriers all over town? Many in my acquaintance have also remarked on the "overkill" of the barriers.
Another example of the nanny state, only this time it's local.
I was very heartened to read the latest figures from the National Drug Intelligence Bureau in our country showing drug-related crime declining and usage lessening. It shows that we are making a difference and despite the doom and gloom from some forecasts, effective drug education is the way to go.
Over the past year, the group I volunteer for, the Drug Free Ambassadors, has handed out more than 250,000 drugs education booklets around the country. We have targeted P, alcohol and cannabis especially.
As the United Nations International Day Against Drugs on June 26 draws closer, we want to encourage all levels of our community to get involved and talk about drugs and educate their friends, family and associates on the truth about drugs. Effective and detailed education results in a fully informed person who can resist the false marketing pitch of the dealers.
We are happy to provide booklets and anyone can go online and download them for free at drugfreeworld.org and order them for free.
The Drug Free Ambassadors group was originally established by the Church of Scientology and is a secular charity with the sole purpose to provide informative education about drugs. They have continued to supply us with funding to enable us to be able to give all of our materials for free to anyone who wants them.
While we cannot protect every young person from being exposed to drugs and alcohol, we can make them impervious to the lies of the dealers and peer group marketing pitches.
Foundation for a DrugFree World Aotearoa
- The Marlborough Express