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LETTERS for June 18 issue

June 18, 2009
Lahaina News

COUNTY MUST STOP WASTING WATER

Water is our most fundamental natural resource. Here on Maui, we don't have enough water to satisfy all of the competing demands. Restored stream flow, aquifer recharge, kuleana/riparian rights, corporate agriculture, golf courses, resorts and housing developments all want more than current levels, and yet we continue to "waste" water at a rate of 3 million to 5 million gallons a day.

Not only is this water being "wasted" through the use of injection wells, studies by marine scientists have shown this nutrient-rich effluent is destroying our precious coral reefs by overfeeding algae, which in turn smothers the reef.

However bleak the situation seems right now, there is room for hope; the technology and political will exist to use this opportunity to transition to a better long-term water management strategy. There are economic stimulus funds going around right now. May we please have funds to update our wastewater facility to a water management system that phases out the use of injection wells to create a win-win-win solution for people, environment and economy?

Phasing out the use of injection wells will have long-term benefits for ALL of Maui. We all need water, we all use the toilet, and most all of us want to protect our reefs and oceans.

TAMARA PALTIN, Kahana

CUTS WOULD HURT TEACHERS

As a teacher of Maui County, I would like to express my concerns with Gov. Linda Lingle's proposed measures to balance the state budget.

She is proposing all state workers be forced to take three furlough days each month.For teachers, the financial impact will be devastating. Our health insurance premiums are already increasing by $2,000 a year for a family plan. When added to the pay lost through the furlough program, teachers would be taking a financial hit greater than $15,000 annually or $500 to $900 dollars per month.

As we are ranked 50th in the country for pay vs. cost of living ratio, it would make it almost impossible to live here in Maui.

Unfortunately, this is the second hit we will be taking. Previous budgetary cuts have reduced our salary from 12 to ten months, equaling an annual loss of 36.8 percent.

I currently work three jobs and still am only able to live paycheck to paycheck. I know I will never be able to afford my own home, or drive a nice car, but with this cut, I doubt I will even be able to pay rent.

The Department of Education currently spends $20 million a year on teacher recruitment, and 60 percent of us leave after three years due to financial hardships. I have greatly enjoyed teaching in Maui and would hate to have to leave. I challenge Linda Lingle to find me a way to live on the West Side of Maui that my salary as a highly qualified teacher would cover.

MARYBETH FRIEDAY, Special Education Teacher, King Kamehameha III School

HOMEWORK IS A BURDEN

Homework, homework, homework... "It helps you improve," or "practice makes perfect." How many times have you heard those lines before? It sounds like a broken record for students; we hear this all the time, but really, is not six hours at school enough? If teachers cannot teach a lesson and get their students to understand it in one complete class period, whose fault is that really?

First of all, between extracurricular activities like sports and clubs, homework is a least priority. But then again, why should a kid have to worry about that kind of stuff? Do we not have time to worry about those kinds of things when we are older? A teachers' solution would be "homework comes first," but does that suggest we just quit the activities altogether? Then all we will know is homework, and what good is that? All play and no work might be bad, but all work and no play is no better.

Secondly, most parents still see their kids as their "babies," but we are not anymore. We are young adults; we know our responsibilities. We know what needs to be done... and there lies the problem. Being as young as we are, there is not much to stress about, but homework starts a conflict once again. Homework is very stressful and can cause major problems, and as studies show, can cause headaches, tight shoulders and back pain, as well as many more symptoms such as emotional breakdowns or major personality changes.

However, some of you parents might wonder, "How do we know that our kids understand the lesson?" But I know just what teachers can do for this problem.

My solution is simple. When you come into class every day, do some exercises on the prior lesson. This way, teachers can clear up any questions or concerns, and it's much more effective.

Homework is a waste of valuable time. Kids are only kids for so long; do not let their childhood slip away. We can make a difference for our future generations and put an end to homework.

CANDACE HANNEMAN, Lahaina Intermediate School student

LEARNING, NOT TESTING, SHOULD BE FOCUS

A letter from an intermediate school student in the Lahaina News about homework woes prompted me to write this response.

Zoe, your well-thought-out letter in the Lahaina News about too much homework really hit its mark. I am appalled at the amount of homework given to students, keeping them up late at night. When do you have time to play? With the grueling schedule of school and after-school activities, when do you get to just wonder at the miracles around you? When do you get to CREATE?

I hear it from kids, I hear it from parents and I hear it from teachers. Yes, Zoe, even from the teachers. The target of your crusade needs to be Washington, D.C., not your fifth grade teacher. There's an act that the former President of the United States put into action in January of 2002 called "No Child Left Behind." It was designed to make sure that children were not held back if they couldn't perform in reading, writing and arithmetic. This was to be accomplished by giving tests in these subjects that were monitored by the government, not by the school boards. As long as the students held a certain grade average in the tests given on these subjects, then the schools would receive funding to allow them to continue teaching.

What this act has done, however, is cause many schools to "teach to the test" - focusing only on those subjects and what would be on the test. This leaves no time for subjects that are creative and necessary to stimulate young minds about the current environmental issues, art, music, foreign language and social studies. In schools where the classroom time is used to expose these social issues on a local and global level, there is no time left to teach the subjects tested by the government. This is where homework comes in. The homework and the tests are grueling. Just ask your parents when they sit down to go over it with you.

Zoe, you and your classmates have been put here on this planet in this time for a purpose. You have been given the tools you need to help heal our planet, and it is all in your imagination. You have created an entire language in your text shorthand that would never pass on a writing test, yet if translated can become a universal language you can use to communicate with other children around the world to solve the problems. You are born with a computer at your fingertips with the calculation capabilities of the human species, yet you must stay up to learn how to calculate these things manually... why? You are inundated with reading material that you must find time to read when you have Wikipedia, which condenses this material, and YouTube, that makes it visually and audibly interesting for you. Instead, you areforced to memorize dates and events that mean little for what lies ahead of you and your peers in the years to come.

This is your world, Zoe, and you must make of it what you will.By the time you graduate from high school, what you learned upon entering will be obsolete.The jobs you will fill do not exist today; you will create them.Why not begin to create them now?Begin to change the system from within by banding together with your classmates and enlisting college students now to change this act that allows no child to get ahead. It is mired in the past. You are the future, and you can change our learning so it is geared toward that future. There are people here to help you who understand.

BONNIE NELSON, Lahaina

 
 
 

 

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