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Respect where it's overdue

Chris Woodhead is out of the fray, but something is still amiss in education. Teachers' perception of a 37-year decline in public status feels accurate. It's probably no coincidence that the fastest deterioration came in the years after 1988 when the televised antics of National Union of Teachers activists included jostling Labour's blind education spokesman, David Blunkett.

Status has been most affected, though, by social changes. Deference is now a rare commodity, and teachers' former position as the community's most educated people is disappearing as more of us go to university.

Does it matter? The important thing is that parents consistently rate their own children's schools and teachers highly. And respect doesn't always influence recruitment. Just ask the young people desperate to join the planet's most despised profession - journalism.

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