Friday, April 16, 2010
Parents present their plan to end Furlough Fridays
by Larry Geller
Parent groups held a press conference today at the State Capitol to present their own plan for dealing with Furlough Fridays. See videos at: Hawaii parents present $55 million plan to end school furloughs now - April 16, 2010 (CNN.com, 4/16/2010).
The plan would use funds from the Hurricane Relief Funds, and other state sources to eliminate nine furlough days, at a cost of $55 million. In addition, teachers would teach on six of what had been planning days, as they had agreed to do with the BOE. The plan costs about $7 million less than what Gov. Lingle has already offered to accept.
The Advertiser reports more detail and also reactions from BOE chair Garrett Toguchi and Governor Lingle. Please read the complete Advertiser story for the details. I’ll snip this one bit, admittedly out of context:
"It is critical that we address the furlough situation with a comprehensive solution that involves parents, teachers, and taxpayers in the solution," Lingle said in her statement. [Honolulu Advertiser, New plan emerges to eliminate 15 Hawaii teacher furlough days, 4/16/2010]
That’s new and refreshing, if sincere. If Lingle truly believed in including parents, she might have tried that last week when parents came to visit.
She also might stop asking parents to reason with the union. What most citizens want is an end to the damage Furlough Fridays are doing to Hawaii’s educational system and to the damage that is being done to children. Now is not the time for ideology, but for repairs.
She could drop charges against the arrested parents for a start, and then invite parent representatives to the table as participants in the solution.
That would be completely out of character, of course, but it could go a long way to patching up her tattered legacy.
What's even better is that Lingle & Aiona's rejection of the plan is according to the following reasons: that it doesn't take care of all the instructional days that remain (6 are left for the next governor to take care of). Yet their own plan leaves 6 guaranteed days that Hawaii's students won't be in school next year. The 4 for this year, and 2 unspecified "sacrifice" days for next year. As usual, their math is fuzzy, and it is increasingly clear that their refusal to resolve this crisis is not just about incompetence, but about political malpractice and malice.