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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Furloughs

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Three former Hawai'i governors spoke recently about education reform in the state. With furlough Fridays still in existence, education remains a controversial issue.

ADVERTISER LIBRARY PHOTO | 2009

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GOVERNOR'S PLAN WOULD RISK SAFETY

The governor thinks the only thing wrong with her furlough plan is having to get those pesky school and union people to accept it.

I have yet to read any suggestions about what would happen during and after incidents that have potential each and every day you have hundreds of students in one place. I'm talking about fire, bomb threats, predators, serious illnesses, violent students and violent outsiders.

Under the governor's plan, you will simply be crossing your fingers after announcing to all that there is no security present. Whom will she blame when something terrible happens? Who will manage the situation, follow up or clean up afterwards when only teachers are present and already responsible for every minute of 30-plus students in their classes?

If you attempt an answer to this question, try not to demonstrate the governor's extraordinary ignorance about teaching when she said on the radio recently that "They (teachers) get to go home at 2 o'clock."

It's even more ignorant to believe that security officers, administrators, nurses, therapists and custodians are "nonessential," given today's concern for the safety of children.

pete antonson | Lwai, Kaua'i

GAMBLING

GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT PROMOTE VICE

Gambling is the exploitation of the human vice of greed.

Government should not be in the business of promoting a vice.

Government taxes tobacco products to stop smoking and uses the proceeds to stem the use of tobacco in all its forms.

Why create another vice and then tax that behavior as if it is an unwanted behavior such as smoking?

Oh, I forgot, its all about the money.

Gambling, like prostitution and drug use, starting with marijuana, will pay all of our bills?

Keep track of which politicians support gambling. They are the ones we all need to target to kick them out of office to protect the next generation.

Bruce WonG | Honolulu

CIVILUNIONS

CONSTITUENTS SHOULD GET ROLL-CALL VOTE

Speaker Calvin Say objected to being called a "coward" for using a voice-vote (rather than public roll-call vote) and for killing equality in the civil unions bill (Jan. 30). He claimed the House had to look out for "constituents."

Yes, legislators do have a responsibility to constituents, but they also have a responsibility to conscience. I will never forget seeing the news clips of the slender young black woman integrating the University of Mississippi during the civil rights movement. Her legislators supported the Jim Crow laws that would forbid her that education. She had to be accompanied by federal marshals, because those legislators' constituents were there in droves, yelling and jeering at her for the great "crime" of seeking what they had.

Now our legislators are similarly recorded, supporting only those filled with hate for the "crime" of wanting to declare love and commitment.

Kathy J. Phillips |Honolulu

SUPER BOWL

ALOHA STADIUM SHOULD SHOW GAME

Next year, when the Super Bowl is held, it would be wonderful if the Stadium Authority could plan a huge Super Bowl party in Aloha Stadium.

They could invite the public, at a reasonable fee like $5 per car, to a fun tailgate party for a few hours before game time, then fill the stadium seats with football fans who could watch the game on the huge screen that is used in live games in the stadium.

Imagine a party with 50,000 of your closest friends.

This would have been a great year to do it, but next year may be just as good. It could become an annual event, a fun day for residents and visitors alike.

Carmen U'ilani Haugen | Honolulu

EDUCATION

QUALITY TEACHERS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

It was nice to see three former governors talk about education reform, albeit a little late, given that they haven't been governors for quite some time. I also point out that there is nothing particular about being a governor or a lawyer that should make us think that someone is an expert on education. What we need to recognize is that the quality of education depends entirely on the person standing in the classroom in front of the kids.

While we don't want to pay teachers so high a salary that we only get people who do it just for the money, we also need to recognize that it is a rare person who does not think to some extent about money. In most career paths, you need money to hire the top talent. Why should we think education is any different?

And, by the way, correctly setting the pay scale for the superintendent of the DOE is a key strategic management issue that needs to be looked after.

Yes, money matters in education.

LLoyd Lim | Honolulu

GOVERNORS' IDEA FOR REFORM TO BE LAUDED

How wonderful to read in The Sunday Advertiser (Jan. 31) that three respected former governors — Ariyoshi, Waihee and Cayetano — have joined our long-term efforts to implement systemic reform to Hawaii's public education system. My sincere congratulations to them for advocating honest change to the system they helped build and sustain during their tenure as governors.

SEN. FRED HEMMINGS | GOP minority leader, State Senate