EDUCATORS DO NEED PREPARATION TIME
Regarding "Devoted would call for a longer year" by K.P. Well (Letters, Jan. 12):
Please do not question a teacher's devotion until you have walked in our shoes.
I was a high school science teacher for 15 years. I always worked at least nine hours a day. Sixty percent of my workday was not with students. It was grading papers for 150 to 180 students, setting up labs or preparing activities for the next class, writing lesson plans, or a dozen other things that take a teacher's time. I worked eight to 10 hours on Sunday as well.
A good teacher cannot just show up and teach. Planning and preparation is the cornerstone to effective teaching. It would take me at least 50 hours to get ready to greet that first student in the beginning of the school year and then I would work nonstop until June.
I worked as many hours in a year as the rest of the population but it was compressed into approximately 10 months. If you want us to be baby sitters then we do not need prep time, but if you want good educators then stop carping about the prep time. When I go out for a nice meal, I expect that the chef had a few hours to prep.
JOYCE CHAPMAN | Lahaina, Maui
PUBLIC NEEDS VISUALS OF IMPACT ON VIEWS
It makes no sense to add more visual clutter between the mountains and the sea. We are, after all, an island heavily dependent on spending by visitors who come to enjoy Hawaii's natural beauty.
In the 1960s, San Francisco residents didn't anticipate the visual impact of the long-planned, elevated Embarcadero Freeway until it was under construction and starting to block their waterfront views.
Their partially built freeway stayed there, unfinished, going nowhere until 1991 when San Franciscans finally spent millions more to have it torn down.
Computer models and projections were not available to San Francisco citizens at that time, so the residents could not see what the visual impact would be. Today's technology could show us how elevated rail will impact views — if only the planners and promoters would share them with the public. How can we accept and agree to pay for something we can't see or visualize? Our rail stations are already being designed, and the public is left in the dark.
DUANE AND SARAH PREBLE | Mānoa
AT-GRADE SYSTEMS PRONE TO ACCIDENTS
Light-rail systems, on grade, kill people. The at-grade systems have one of the worst accident rates of any transit mode (per Federal Transit Administration).
A light-rail car is heavier and stronger than a subway car because they are engineered and designed to try to withstand the known and anticipated traffic accidents that they are continually subject to.
Taxpayers are currently paying millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements from on-grade light-rail accidents.
Principally because of this terrible safety record and bad on-time arrival schedules, your duly authorized professional officials have correctly planned to install a reliable, on-time system above grade, with no same-level crossovers. The results? No accidents. How many lives could be saved? Maybe your own life!
The compatibility of train stations, buses, cars and bike parking/locker areas and interaction with bikeways, hikers and pedestrians under the raised rail system is very important.
Who in Hawaii has become more knowledgeable than the professional transit persons? We respect our leaders when they use expert advisers in/out their offices. Hopefully we do not vote for them when they bow to detrimental political pressure.
GLENN P. CHAPMAN | Honolulu
PROPONENTS NOT TRUE THREAT TO MARRIAGE
I think homosexual behavior is wrong — period. However, it is unfair to accuse civil union proponents of being a threat to traditional marriage. The true threat to traditional marriage has nothing to do with homosexuals. The true threat is heterosexual in origin. It arises from a need for easy divorces, from choosing to live together rather than marry, from having children out of wedlock.
It is rooted in a failure to confront joblessness, loneliness, alcoholism, pornography, infidelity, anger and abuse — until it is too late to save a marriage.
CHARLES KERR | Honolulu
COMPROMISE WITH CREATIVE SOLUTION
A few bombs go off prior to the legal operating times, and yes, they do startle me, but the annoyance only lasts a second. Every time someone does not like something it's always "Ban it! Oh, won't someone think of the children?" Do we really need to live with such intolerance? Can there be aloha, a compromise?
Instead of reinventing the wheel let's look to how some other states have dealt with this problem. In Colorado, there are zones where one can go to use their fireworks. Maybe we can rotate — Windward, East, Central, etc. — every year. This would allow the fire department to concentrate its efforts. Also, people who don't like smoke or noise could stay out of the area and make plans to deal with their pets.
JOSEPH T. BUSSEN | Kailua
INDEED, VALUE LIES IN VOCATIONAL PROGRAMS
In response to Mike Rustigan's commentary (Jan. 15), I couldn't agree more! He has voiced what many educators have been feeling for some time. In its current form, the No Child Left Behind mandate has forced most schools to drop their elective courses, especially the vocational programs. We need to send the message to our youth that skilled hands-on professions are just as valued as any accountant, educator or lawyer.
Let us hope the Obama administration rethinks the course of the NCLB mandate so that it truly encompasses the educating of all students in preparing them to be productive, successful citizens.
M. REILLEY | Kailua