Letters - July
Letters to the Editor may be e-mailed to: email@example.com, faxed: 537-6455 or sent to: Honolulu Magazine, 1000 Bishop St., Suite 405, Honolulu, HI, 96813.
“The Music Issue,” June 2006
After several years of reporting on Hawaiian music, our annual music issue this year celebrated other music forms found in the Islands, including rock, classical, reggae, world, jazz and hip-hop.
I heard about your latest Honolulu music issue. Well, I’m a local blues singer. Yes, I said blues, which seems to be forgotten in this town. Every time I tell someone I sing blues, they ask if I know Azure McCall, and I have to tell them she sings jazz—I sing blues. I sing in the key of A-flat or D-minor, which means I have something you don’t hear in Honolulu every day. I sing Tina Turner, Etta James, Koko Taylor, Tracy Chapman. I even flex my muscles and original songs at poetry slams by singing the way early blues was done, with just a guitar. The blues community should not be overlooked.
I wanted to express my appreciation for your music issue feature article; it’s exciting to see often-overlooked local talent acknowledged by the press. I learned about artists I didn’t know, and it triggered my curiosity for exploring the local musical flavors.
I was, however, disappointed to see no mention of house music. Many talented artists, such as the DJs in the AYA group (who fathered the “Living Room” event before it turned into a hip-hop venue) are recognized internationally and have put Hawai‘i on the map of the underground house music scene. I hope it will receive more attention in the future, and maybe it will be represented in your next music issue.
Raffaella Negretti Holland
“Grading the Public Schools,” May 2006
Our May cover story found that, despite some reform, serious flaws remain in Hawai‘i’s public school system.
I read your report on schools with despair and growing concern for the education of my two children. For those who can’t afford private school, the lack of alternative choices forces them to accept their district public school, even if it’s a terrible one. The main problem with our school system is that it’s a monopoly.
I wish so much that our system allowed parents to choose their school like in many parts of Europe. Competition is great for consumers in every area of life, and schooling is no exception. If school administrators knew they would only get funding when parents chose their school, faculty and staff would work harder to provide excellent services. Bad schools would be closed down (as they should), just like bad businesses, and teachers would be afraid of losing their jobs for poor performance, just like everyone in the real world.
In Europe, kids learn multiple languages, excel in math and science to a level far beyond our kids, and the schools are constantly offering more choices for students to specialize in. The best schools get the most kids, and therefore the most funding. The bad schools get closed down and taken over by new private companies.
Put each public school up for sale—to Sylvan, Kumon, Hawai‘i Baptist Academy, ‘Iolani, Punahou, etc. The private sector always does everything better than the government. Or move to Europe. Your kids will be smarter for it.
I would rather deem a school “best” when the school turns unmotivated students who rarely come to school (for whatever reason) into students who are making enormous gains. I mean, would you take the credit if a second-grade student came to you reading at the fifth-grade level and left you reading at the sixth-grade level? Or would you rather take credit for a second-grade student who can’t read and ends the school year at first-grade level? Personally, I would take the latter. Don’t blame the schools. Blame the system.