Monday, October 26, 2009
The least disappeared news seems to be Hawaii’s Furlough Fridays
by Larry Geller
It’s seldom that Hawaii breaks so completely into world news. The sad news is that the furlough story is everywhere.
Hawaii’s Furlough Fridays and its achievement of the fewest school days in a country which already has fewer school days and poorer academic achievement than other advanced nations is making news. Everywhere.
Some of the articles point the finger at Governor Linda Lingle, which can’t please her if she has aspirations to national office or appointment. For example, an article from a college paper (University of Connecticut The Daily Campus) ends with this:
Perhaps Lingle would do well to revisit some of her own childhood memories of school, and contemplate whether she could have risen to the position she now holds if her elementary and high school education had been jeopardized in the way she now harms future generations of Hawaiian students.
From the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette:
… Last week, on the first of the statewide school furlough days, parents protested outside the state Capitol building.
That prompted Republican Gov. Laura Lingle to say that she regretted approving the contract agreement. "Looking back on it now, I assumed that they would do what was in the best interest of the students, and I don't think they did," she said. "I don't think their decision was in the best interest of the students."
That prompted the state teachers union to fire back, charging that the furloughs were the governor's idea.
I hope students in Hawaii are watching the drama. Whether they are in class or not, it's a great lesson in politics.
Articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, on CNN, ABC News, the Brisbane Times, University of Illinois student paper, BBC News, and more. A Time article quotes Rep. Lyla Berg, whom it identifies as a former public school principal. Via the AFP wire service, the story is all over Europe.
The Guardian (London) was scathing in its coverage:
The furloughs are the most draconian measure yet taken in the US, where the recession has forced many states to slash public services. At least 25 states have forced teachers to take unpaid days off, but most of the cuts have fallen on holidays or on preparation days rather than on actual school days.
Are we still trying to be a technology leader and work with Japan and other Asian countries? Japan now knows about our educational system, what will they think of us?
China too, via Voice of America News (!):