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"Grading the Public Schools," May 2010

Every other year, the magazine uses data from the Department of Education to rank the state’s public schools. The chart is based on standardized test scores in reading and math, as well as satisfaction scores from surveys taken by teachers, parents and students.

Mahalo for your article grading public schools throughout the state. This report demonstrates the failure of the Department of Education to ensure the availability of an equitable education for our children on the Neighbor Islands. For example, of the 26 schools with an A grade, 25 (96 percent) are located on Oahu and only one (4 percent) is on a Neighbor Island, and that with a grade of A-. On the other hand, of the 44 schools with a D- or F grade, 31 (70 percent) are on Neighbor Islands and 13 (30 percent) are on Oahu. Overall, Hawaii District schools fared the worst, with 19 (43 percent) of the schools receiving a D- or F grade. This data is dramatic evidence of the need for DOE to focus its efforts on improving Neighbor Island schools and particularly the Big Island.

As a recently retired educator, it is shocking to see the list of programs (page 132) that Hawai‘i neglects to provide its students for college/life preparedness. Hawai‘i’s Department of Education is clearly a figurehead with no intention or ability to implement changes that will make its students competitive. I’m a visitor to Hawai‘i for nearly 40 years and a regular reader of HONOLULU. Why, I continue to ponder, is the DOE satisfied that its educational system continues to be an embarrassment to an otherwise superior place? 

Having spent 38 years as a university professor helping to educate the teachers of Maryland, I am proud of the accomplishments of my state. I have also had the pleasure of spending several days in Oahu elementary schools observing the opera program for children put on by the Hawai‘i Opera Theatre. That partnership speaks highly for your concern to educate children in the arts. Your state excels in this effort.

"Next Stop, Portland," March 2010

Read “Next Stop, Portland,” in our March 2010 archives to read the “Afterthoughts” column that inspired this comment. 

“Our Mayor Adams gets way more trend-o-meter points for being gay than for sharing a name with a Boston lager.”

Photo: Courtesy of Vibram

"The Next Horrible Shoe Fad," March 2010

A story in senior writer Michael Keany’s blog, Urban Archaeology, covered Vibram Five Fingers shoes. Passionate conversation ensued online.

“make your feet stronger” … “tactile experience is much closer to being barefoot” … It’s amazing how people will believe and justify following a fad. Jumping out of a moving car will also make your body stronger, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Shoes were designed for functional and safety reasons. These shoes are a total fashion trend; first Crocs, and now this. Anyone who owns a pair of these ridiculous shoes will leap at the opportunity to pitch how logical it is to own a pair. I’m sure they will end up in the yard-sale pile with the fanny packs and sun visor hats.