Letters to the Editor
ALL OF US MUST SHARE SCHOOL RESPONSIBILITY
I just read Beverly Creamer's March 7 article "Hawai'i public schools 'leak' students" and I have to express my opinion. Remember the idea that it takes a village to raise a child? It's a team thing. So, let's stop pointing the finger at one team member (the teachers/schools) when some of our kids have difficulty learning.
I suggest the real disease of our time is the habit of misplaced blame. Let's start pushing for individual responsibility. I think if we all (students, siblings, parents, aunties, uncles, etc.) accept our shared responsibilities, this will help the teachers and schools.
I believe most of our kids are on the right track and most parents do their best. The pockets of struggling kids and their families are the ones left behind (or leaving themselves behind), and the last thing they need to hear is the clichéd message that the school system is failing them.
New message to repeat: "Education is a luxury, better yet, a gift. Don't return it or reject it just because the packaging and wrapping cover what's inside. Open it and appreciate it."Patrick Nakamura
MYTHS SURROUND ISLE PRIVATE SCHOOLS
In DOE Budget Director Edwin Koyama's March 6 letter to the editor, he sought to dismiss myths about the DOE budget. I do not work for the DOE, so I cannot express opinions on that matter. I can, however, comment about private schools.
In Hawai'i, there are 25 Catholic parish elementary schools, as well as private and parochial schools pre-K through 12. These schools form a significant block of Hawai'i private schools.
My school, St. John Vianney in Kailua, charges $4,700 for the year. This covers the full cost of tuition and, in fact, covers books, fees and even lunch. For this amount, we offer an excellent education, with weekly classes in art, computer, library, music, P.E. and Japanese language, as well as the core curriculum. We have a reading help program and advanced math and literature classes. Our extra-curricular and co-curricular programs include competitive sports, three levels of band, stringed instruments, chorus and a fine hula halau.
We are a parish school, not a "church-supported school." Our parishioners do support us with their prayers and sometimes their time and talent. Church funding is used solely to provide financial aid for those who otherwise could not afford our tuition. That money allows us to give opportunities to the children who most need them.
I understand that we really cannot compare public and private schools, and I would not seek to do so. I just want to make it clear that Catholic parish schools do indeed cover the full cost of education for under $6,000 a year.Jane Ann Quinn
Principal, St. John Vianney School
AIRPORT RAIN GAUGE DOESN'T TELL US MUCH
The March 3 Advertiser mentioned that the National Weather Service reported that we had endured a whopping .17 inch of rain on March 2. Since we know the official rain gauge is at the airport, also known as the driest place in Hawai'i, it's no surprise that everyone who lives on this island, except at the airport, was soaked.
Then it was reported on the news that the automated rain gauge at Punalu'u or somewhere else in the vicinity topped out at 1 1/2 feet of rain. Why can't we have a more accurate report of rain on this island than the airport's gauge?William Hall
HANSON ON IRAQ
COLUMNIST BLEW IT ON PLEA FOR PATIENCE
How lucky we are to have access to the wisdom of such pundits as Victor Davis Hanson, the right-wing columnist who, in his column of Feb. 23 in The Advertiser, told us of the progress we are making in Iraq and that we can win "if only we remain patient."
Ironically, this particular column appeared the day after the bombing of that Shiite mosque in Samarra and the retaliatory bombing of dozens of Sunni mosques around the country, which so inflamed sectarian hatred that the thing we fear most is now openly discussed everywhere: all-out civil war, with the Americans caught in the crossfire.
The Iraqi leaders themselves sound deeply worried about this, and a general in the Iraqi Defense Ministry said flat out, "This may be the start of the civil war."
Those words should bring a few doubts to America's right-wing warmongers like Mr. Hanson and his ilk, but they still don't get it and continue to believe that reality is whatever they wish it to be. Which is what got us into this mess in the first place.
Worse than that, they're still peddling their delusions to the rest of us. But the undeniable facts and mounting corpses on all sides are making it very hard to sell.Mason Altiery
WILL ETHANOL CAUSE CAR ENGINES TO PING?
When the local oil producers start blending ethanol into the gasoline, will the ethanol affect the octane rating of the gasoline?
If it lowers the octane rating of gasoline, it will cause some car engines to start pinging and cause engine pre-ignition, which is harmful to the engine.
The cure would be that you will have to move up to a higher grade of gas to eliminate the pinging and your gas bill will increase.T. Higashida
HAWAIIAN CULTURE SHOULD BE SHARED
It seems there are several Hawaiian organizations that would like federal Judge David Ezra to consider them as claimants to 83 Native Hawaiian artifacts. The articles in question were stolen in 1905 (101 years ago) and either sold or given to the Bishop Museum.
The museum, to the best of my knowledge and research, not only did extensive research as to the gods and other items, but also built and showcased each item with a little history behind it so that all who viewed it got a little education about our culture and heritage.
As a student of our public school system, I was able to enjoy all items at the museum; my daughter and grandchildren have also had the same pleasure. But it seems that my first great-grandson and others soon to come will not be afforded the same privilege that we had.
No so-called Hawaiian leader has pointed out that cultural knowledge not only benefits our children but all children of Hawai'i. And what about all of the people who visit us from around the world? How can we as a people not share not only what we have, but what we had? Especially at a time when we are asking Congress to consider us a sovereign nation, we rebury our culture?
Most of you leaders should spend more time at home since we are losing more of our land, culture and education, which are important to all of us.
I say this not so much in criticism as I do out of concern for all of us who live here.Whitney T. Anderson
TOO MANY BUS STOPS ON THE KAHALA ROUTE
I am a senior citizen who uses his bus pass frequently. It is high time to review the bus stop system. It has been getting out of hand to the point of being absurd.
For instance, on the No. 1 bus from the Kahala off-ramp on Wai'alae Avenue to Koko Head Avenue, there are seven stops over nine short blocks. Three would be enough. And coming off the other ramp into Kahala, there is even a stop right on the off-ramp, a task for the bus driver to get over to, and then it holds up all the traffic behind him. I have seen only school kids, who are too lazy to walk one short block away, occasionally using that stop.
The No. 3 bus in Kaimuki is even worse. There are stops every few houses. The bus driver can hardly accelerate before he has to brake again. The cost for gas and maintenance is outlandish.
Senior citizens, wake up and walk an extra block or two. It's good for you, and the savings might even eliminate the $30 annual bus fee for seniors.
And while we are saving money, have riders enter in the front and disembark in the back. It saves time and aggravation and it's standard procedure in most of the rest of the world.Gerhard C. Hamm