Hawaii teacher furloughs will cut class time, not preparation days
So the state of Hawaii cannot balance it's budget or manage it's money properly. This state is worse than my 8 year old with her birthday money burning a hole in her pocket. It's ridiculous. The amount of revenue brought in my tourists, property taxes from outrageous home prices, and the prohibitive taxes imposed on the people of Hawaii slip through the hands of state officials like water through a sieve. And yet the roads remain full of car-eating potholes, the airport looks like something you'd find in a third world country, and the schools are now so far in the hole that the school year is being trimmed back by 17 days.
This whole issue bothers me on so many levels:
1.) If you read the article, you'll see that both the State DOE AND the teachers' union agreed not to use ANY of the professional development days as part of the 17 furlough days being imposed. Not one. Not. ONE. Disgusting.
2.) Rather than trim some of the fat that exists at the DOE (last I heard, the ratio of DOE employees to teachers is something like 13:1. WHY do we need 13 DOE employees sitting in an office somewhere, pushing paper, for every school teacher out there, busting their butts to educate our children??), the DOE is content to shift the burden of the shortfall on to the backs of working families. Child care is ridiculously expensive in this state and now those parents who both work have to come up with the money to cover 17 random Fridays throughout the school year. Disgusting.
3.) Rather than make things easier on parents AND teachers - who will both be feeling the economic impact of these furloughs - and schedule these furlough days in blocks either at the end of the school year or at breaks, the DOE and the teachers' union have decided to give everyone a bunch of 3 day weekends randomly throughout the school year. Had they cut the year short by 17 days, teachers would have been able to apply for summer jobs and simply start working two weeks earlier than they had planned. Summer programs could have been started 17 days early, thereby alleviating the stress placed on the backs of working families. But no...the DOE and HSTA (the teachers' union) had to make an already difficult situation even more difficult by choosing this route. Disgusting.
4.) The state of Hawaii now has the fewest days in school of any state in the union. After these 17 furlough days are implemented, students in Hawaii will go to school for a TOTAL of 162 days. And that includes at least 8 half days (where students get out at 12:30pm for parent-teacher conferences. According to the law, these days are actually classified as full days because the students are in school through lunch.). Disgusting.
Now, before you jump all over me and tell me that those teacher prep and waiver days are necessary and that I don't know what I'm talking about, let me give you my background: I am a K-12 certified public school teacher. I have taught in Colorado, California, Alaska, and now I sub in Hawaii. I know how important those prep days are. And I know - on the whole - how worthless those Professional Development days are. Waive some of them. Not all of them. But instead of forcing students and parents to shoulder the FULL burden of the furloughs, the teachers' union should have agreed to include a few of those PD days in the furlough. But they didn't. Disgusting.
The case for homeschooling was just made stronger by one decision by the Hawaii DOE and HSTA. And that will have ramifications for years to come. It is a sad day here for Hawaii's schoolchildren, teachers, and families.
(coming soon...Space Available travel adventures!)