Teachers to hold protests today

Educators around the state say they will organize a walk-in protest from 7 to 8 a.m. today because they are “frustrated by the lack of funding in Hawaii’s schools and by the state’s being ranked worst in the country for teachers just last week by a national survey,” according to a press release.

The teachers are asking the public to support them, schools and keiki by voting for the constitutional amendment that is on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Hawaii teachers are joining what’s called the “red for ed” movement around the country. In Oklahoma, West Virginia and Arizona, teachers went on strike, using walk-ins and protests to make the community aware of the lack of funding in public schools.

The “red for ed” movement in Hawaii is expanding, and teachers across the state expect to hold even more walk-in protests later this month. Hawaii schools rank last in teacher pay and 45th in per pupil expenditures, adjusted for cost of living.

The Oct. 2 walk-ins will take place on Oahu at McKinley High.

Neighbor island sign-waving and walk-ins will occur between 7 and 7:45 a.m. On Kauai, teachers will protest at Wilcox Elementary.

The amendment asks if the Legislature should be authorized to establish a surcharge on investment real property to be used to support public education.

The Affordable Hawaii Coalition, comprised of community and business leaders, is rallying opposition to the amendment. It argues taxes are already too high in Hawaii, it will drive up the cost of living in the state even more and there is no guarantee the funds will go to public education.

Last week, WalletHub released the results of a survey that found Hawaii is the worst out of the other 49 states and Washington, D.C., to be a public school teacher, because of low salaries as well as a lack of both funding and support in the classroom.

The four Hawaii counties have filed an appeal of a ruling denying their challenge to the proposed constitutional amendment that asks voters to allow state lawmakers to impose real property taxes for public education.

Circuit Judge Jeff Crabtree last month denied the counties’ initial request to stop the proposal from going on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The counties argue the proposed amendment would erode the only source of tax income they are allowed by the state. They are seeking to invalidate the ballot question that’s to be on the November ballot, arguing that the language is vague, unclear and misleading.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, among the proposal’s biggest supporters, say it could generate between $200 million and $400 million per year.

“To be ranked at the very bottom of a national study just emphasizes the fact that Hawaii’s teachers are the lowest paid in country which has resulted in high turnover rates and a shortage of more than 1,000 qualified teachers each school year,” said Corey Rosenlee, President of Hawaii State Teachers Association. “This is unacceptable. We need to reinvest in Hawaii’s public schools now and make our keiki the number one priority. The way we can do that is to vote in favor of the Constitutional Amendment which will create dedicated funding for Hawaii’s public schools.”

  1. Ken Conklin October 2, 2018 12:59 am Reply

    Take a look at the list of National Merit Scholarship semifinalists just released. These are the students whose hard work was done in schools which offered top-notch curriculum taught by great teachers. Notice how most of the students in the list attend private schools. I am disappointed that our public schools are failing to nurture our gifted and talented students to the extent they need and deserve. We pay public school teachers higher salaries than the private schools pay their faculty members, and we get lousy results. Maybe it’s not the fault of the teachers; but rather the bloated bureaucracy. We should not send any more money to the DOE until there is a rigorous audit to find out where our tax dollars are being wasted and to help figure out how to restructure the DOE. Football coaches and business executives who deliver poor results get fired; they do not get automatic pay raises and tenure.

  2. rk669 October 2, 2018 5:52 pm Reply

    Take a good look at Maisy H,she shows how Hawaiian schools desperately need some Help. Can you Believe someone would vote for such an inept representative! Ask her to spell ICE?

  3. John Zwiebel October 2, 2018 6:26 pm Reply

    Well, no reason to listen to Conklin any longer.

    What is happening to Hawaii Teachers is the same thing that is happening to the US Post Office and just about any other public program one can think of.

    Add more responsibility and demand better results while at the same time failing to adequately fund those extra responsibilities.

    If your contractor tells you it will cost $1M to build a house and you only give him $500,000 do you really think you’re going to end up with a million dollar house?

    Conklin is just pushing that BS meme that only “private” education works. The students that go to private schools are from more well-to-do families. Those schools don’t have to deal with children who have been poisoned by Monsanto (or whichever corporation you want to name).

    So, is it time to abandon “mainstreaming” and put the “retarded kids” (apologies for using the term, trying to make a point) into a facility of their own where they can be warehoused until they are shoved on to the streets and be homeless? Gosh, isn’t it fun to visit Honolulu and see homeless folks on every park bench. /s

    Maybe it is time to declare that anyone who has cancer has been condemned by God and so of course they should die an unnatural, painful death. The Insurance Companies could save a lot of money so that the Board could then send their kids to even more elite schools.

    Public School teachers are NOT our enemy. They choose a job where they want to actually “do good”. The ‘rest of us’ should stop thinking that they are trying to screw us out of our hard earned dollar and instead figure out a way of supporting them.

  4. harry oyama October 2, 2018 9:05 pm Reply

    The corrupt and bloated DOE administration has just given their so called “Complex Superindentents” raises so that they now make more than the governor! Do we really need another layer of useless bureacrats that outnumber teachers 13,500 to 11,000 teacher?

    A case in point that corrupt complex principal at Waipahu High School made an illegal contract to hire his own son’s company to replace a perfectly functioning bell system with a CISCO brand that can only use its own products costing taxpayers $millions, that does not work. He was not punished, but allowed to retire with full life time pension and State benefits.

    It is a known fact that such contracts are written by these DOE upper management padding their salaries so they can have larger high three years pensions, then write contracts so it specifically disqualifies everyone else but themselves, then retire and come back as contractors to the very seat they vacated which is still warm.

    The FBI should do an audit and arrest any violators so they automatically loose their pensions and get thrown in jail.

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