|"CAN HAWAIIANS SAVE
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS?," |
Ronna Bolante's feature on Native Hawaiian initiatives to create and fund public charter schools.
Bolante's excellent article raises some serious concerns. Since the state Legislature allowed the conversion of public schools to charter schools in 1999 and approved the creation of startup charter schools in 2000, one would assume the legislators like the idea of charter schools. Why, then, do they treat charter-school students and faculty as second-class citizens by giving them less funding than they give other public schools? Department of Education spokesman Greg Knudsen says this "takes into account the potential federal grants available to charter schools for which regular schools aren't eligible." Applying for a grant doesn't guarantee that the grant will be funded. If the grant isn't funded, it's the charter-school students who suffer. Is this what the Legislature had in mind?
The DOE and Board of Education don't count the years teachers spend in charter schools toward tenure. Again, to quote Knudsen, "Charter schools can employ teachers that the DOE doesn't consider credentialed, and the department has no control over the hiring or firing of their personnel." This is a fallacious argument. Charter schools are accountable under the same assessment measures as all other DOE schools. They can't hire into a teaching position anyone who is not credentialed. And they can't keep an individual longer than three years if the person doesn't get licensed in that time. And what about those DOE teachers who are already tenured within the DOE? Why should they be penalized with loss of seniority if they move into the charter-school system?
The DOE seems to have an "us against them" stigma against the charter schools. Yet as Jim Shon, executive director of the Charter School Administrative Office, says, "Charter schools have taken a constituency and provided services to it that nobody else has." Isn't it time for the Legislature and the DOE to treat them fairly?
Nancy Alpert Mower, Honolulu
"GIVING VOICE," NOVEMBER 2004
I was most impressed by the article on John Keola Lake. A Mainland haole, I was working in Hawai'i some 20 years ago when I began to study the Hawaiian language with him. My wife, a päkë, studied the hula with him. We were both delighted by him and his teaching methods. He is more than an outstanding Hawaiian, he is an outstanding human being. I am sure he would be pleased if, as the Honolulu Star-Bulletin now does weekly, you included some items in the Hawaiian language in your magazine. And kudos on the proper orthography. Keep up the good work. We return quite often and my wife and I depend on you to keep us up-to-date on what's happening on the Islands.
Leon M. S. Slawecki, Washington, Va.
As a visiting former Kalihi native, I found your November Holiday Annual edition in my hotel room at the Hawai'i Prince Hotel and read it from cover to cover. I enjoyed every article, loved the variety of subjects. I was also very touched by the picture of the woman cradling and smiling at her child [in "Kü'ë"]. It was the most sincere expression of love that I have ever seen.
Ruth Mizumoto, via e-mail
DESIGN," NOVEMBER 2004
Napier wants to dump the single-party primary. The primary election is to pick the party candidate. The election for crossover voting is called the general election.
Lynne Matusow, Honolulu
Napier replies: Yes, that's absolutely true. But it doesn't have to be. Even a completely nonpartisan primary could be useful as the first round in runoff elections for high-profile races, where many candidates throw their names into the ring. Or, to pursue my point in the column even further, we could skip the hassle and expense of a primary election-which voters tend to blow off anyway-and just go right to a free-for-all general election.Letters to the Editor may be sent to: Honolulu Magazine, P.O. Box 913, Honolulu, HI, 96808-0913, faxed: 537-6455 or e-mailed: firstname.lastname@example.org