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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1914.…

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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1914. Topical Tattle. What a week this has been. It opened in a turmoil, which thank goodness has subsided, but everywhere you go it is strik»\ strike, strike." The teachers have at lasr. dune what the bigwigs of the county thought was impossible, and have gone on strike fur a eciie of salaries, and then to make matters viorse some of the youngsters took it iino their heads to do likewise. Surely never have such scenes been witnessed as took place at Led bury, Ashperton and Ross on Monday, when scholars came out on strike also, in sympathy with their old teachers. These outbursts on the part of the youngsters are significant of the spirit of the age and should give students of social life furiously to think. It is evident from the scenes on Monday at various places in the county that the children even have recognised their power, and the whole business has had and must have a very bad effect on the children in the future. There has been a good deal said this week as to the cause of these outbreaks of scholars, and as to who is to blame, but to my mind there can only be one body to blame for the whole business so far as Ledbury is concerned, and that is the Education Authority, for opening a school with less than half a staff and even that portion totally new to their charges. It would have been far better, apart from any question as to the rights or wrongs of the strike, to have kept all schools closed which had not something approaching a full complement of staff, for at present in Ledbury it is a mere waste of time for the children to go to school so far as educational benefit is concerned. • Ledbury has seldom loomed so large in the public eye of the whole country as it has this week, and thanks to the pictures in the papers some people have heard of it who probably never knew of our old Herefordshire town before. It has advertised the place certainly, but it is a doubtful notoriety, and one can only express the hope that we shall never again witness such a scene as last Monday's disgraceful happenings. Thanks to the Rector and Father Lynch the unruly spirits have been quelled, and something like decent order maintained. It is a significant fact that the whole press of the country is on the side of the teachers in their demand for a scale and an increase of salaries. From the ponderous Times down through the whole gamut of Tory, Radical, Labour and Socialistic papers one comes across the same line of thought, expressed naturally in different ways, but all to the same end, the right of the teacher to a scale. And a scale must come eventu- ally, and it would be as well to settle it first as last, and save all the bother. One wQuld think from the attitude of the Education Committee that Herefordshire was the only agricultural county in the country with a preponderance of small schools. The Committee state they will consider salaries annually on their merits, but the teachers have bad some of that in the past. Why, even in the revised salaries granted recently the most glaring inconsistencies occurred, for heads of schools with bad reports jeceived as much increase and in cases more than heads with excellent reports. That is a sample of the Education Committee's view of merit. I don't wonder the teachers kick at it. The only argument of any consequence that I have heard of in opposition to the teachers is that of the cost to the rates. Certainly this is a very important point, but there are indications that ere long there will be a change in the method of pay- ment, and the time is not far distant when education of the children will be made a national charge and not a local one. Educa- tion is a national question, and as such should be paid for out of the Imperial Exchequer and not out of the local treasury. Herefordshire is noted for its low education rate, and compared with other similar coun- ties it certainly is low. You know the old saying about cheap and nasty ? Verb sap. # The school teacher is the most important man in the commonweal," says the Daily Sketch." But in Herefordshire roads come before humanity. In other words the County Council thinks far more of its roads than it does of the men and women who educate the youth of the county. The strike of teachers in Herefordshire has its humorous side," says the Daily Express." The fellow who wrote that must have been at Ledbury, Ashperton or Ross on Monday. # Amidst all the turmoil caused ,by the teachers' strike there is one matter connected with the Urban Council which it is possible may be overlooked, and that is with reference to the insurance under the Insurance Act of Mr A G Maddox, the rate collector. The Council did not insure him until recently, as from October last, and Mr Maddox does net therefore become entitled to benefit until April. As a matter of fact he should have been insured at the com- mencement of the Act, and he would then have been in benefit a year ago. Mean- while he has been ill, and has incurred a doctor's bill which will be no small matter to a man in his position, as naturally a doctor would not accept him as a panel patient for the period covering his illness after that illness. The default on the part of the Council has had this result:—Mr Maddox has lost the 308 maternity benefit, lost 10s per week sick pay for about a month, and has incurred a doctor's bill of probably 12 to 13. The Council have thus something to answer for. The 10s per week sick pay does not much matter, nor perhaps is the maternity benefit of 30s of vast importance, but what is important is the doctor's bill. It will be interesting to see the outcome. Will a claim for the doctor's bill be sent to the Council ? Will they pay it? and if they do will the auditor surcharge the members with it for not carrying cut their duty and insuring Mr Maddox from the outset ? It is a very interesting proposition, and I await the settlement with interest. There is a good deal of virtue in the mere look of a first-class journal," says the Standard." We bow to the compliment aod invite closer inspection. TATTLER. I 4

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