homepage logo

LETTERS for April 19 issue

By Staff | Apr 19, 2012

LHS should focus on its quality, not history

As a Lahainaluna High School graduate studying overseas, I generally like to keep up to date with home, and I noticed some comments over Facebook that troubled me. There have been a number of complaints regarding Sports Illustrated’s (SI) article about Punahou, criticizing SI for incorrectly calling Punahou the oldest school west of the Mississippi.

This bothers me because I believe the Lahaina community has become too fixated on this idea of history and pride that it fails to address the issues of our education system, and how it can be more improved so that our academic performance can compete with other public high schools, and even Punahou for that matter.

Lahainaluna prides itself on being old and having a unique Hawaiian alma mater. So what? Should we be satisfied with this? Do we have the best math and reading scores in the state? Do we have the best turnout of students for tertiary education? Are we effectively preparing our students for success in the real world?

Despite our strong cultural heritage, I believe our current high school performance does not live up to the high standards that our unique history have set out for us. We should be a legacy with continued excellence in academics and athletics to dominate over the other public schools in Hawaii. After over 180 years of education, can we really say we have improved rather than declined?

The problem with our community is that when articles about Punahou crop up in popular media, we focus on complaining about who is truly the oldest school. I am surprised and disappointed that people on Facebook did not express an outcry as to why Punahou was featured in SI rather than Lahainaluna. We need to expect better and challenge ourselves to become known for something more than just being “old.”

I am grateful to have been a part of Lahainaluna’s long-standing tradition and culture, and that strong sense of spirit within our community that has certainly been consistent after 180 years. Sometimes I fear we are too stuck in our past that we fail to be on par with the rest of the nation.

In the real world and the grand scheme of the national and global community, Lahainaluna has yet to make a strong definite mark, and this is what we should be more vocal about in our social media. Our strong spirit lends ourselves to achieve greatness, if only we stop being sore over Facebook and focus on real academic improvements. Let’s strive for better.



Help clean Maui on Earth Day

Earth Day is approaching, and there will be events around the island. If you live on the Upper West Side, there will be a cleanup out at Honolua Bay – a joint effort of Surfrider Foundation and Save Honolua Coalition. Assistance will be provided by Community Work Day, Aloha Waste and Maui Land & Pine.

The area is looking pretty good these days, but there are still pockets of debris and rubbish here and there.

Meet at Honolua Stream Bridge at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 21 (by the port-a-potties).

Here is the chance for all you letter writers to show up and show you really care.



State should negotiate with Hawaii teachers

(The following letter was sent to Hawaii Rep. Roy Takumi and Sen. Jill Tokuda.)

How much money do you make? Do you work hard for it? I’m assuming you DO work hard for your money, and also that you make a heck of a lot more than I do. How would you feel if the voters of this state were to show up at your home at 2 a.m. demanding that you give back a percentage of your salary, and at the same time tell you that they are going to judge your performance based on voter turnout at the next election? I’m betting you wouldn’t be happy for multiple reasons. The first reason would be that you work hard for your money and feel you deserve every penny of it. The second reason you would be upset is because you and your fellow politicians have very little control over whether we come out to vote. That is how we teachers of Hawaii feel right now.

We just learned of the recent bill that would strip us of our ability to collectively bargain, meaning we would have to take whatever deal the state offered us, even if it offered us ANOTHER reduction in pay. I work VERY hard at my jobs – yes, I have more than one, because it’s impossible to raise a family on a teacher’s salary in Hawaii, which is ALSO just plain wrong, but that’s an argument for another day – getting up at 5:30 a.m. every day and not getting home until after 7 p.m. sometimes. When’s the last time YOU put in that long a working day?

I am a licensed teacher who is highly qualified in three of the four core subjects (math, English and social studies). I am trying to raise a family here but am finding it more and more difficult each year. I started here four years ago making only $42,000 a year, most likely substantially less than you. Now, after four years, I make only $34,500. As I get better and better at my job, I seem to be making less and less. What’s wrong with that picture? As I improve my practice, I should be getting RAISES, not deductions in pay. Unionized employees have only one power; the ability to collectively bargain. Before that right was recognized in the United States, many unions were outright attacked by the bosses, sometimes hurt and killed, always terrorized. Stripping us of our right to collectively bargain returns us to those days.

What did teachers do to deserve this? We had the temerity to reject a contract offer that no one could explain. I and every other teacher I know called the DOE’s Department of Human Services, and NOT ONE got a straight answer as to what he or she would be making under the new proposal. Surely, you can’t expect teachers to ratify a contract without knowing its specifics. What kind of example would we be setting for our students? Or maybe, we’re being made an example of, so that you and your comrades can show our students what happens when we get out of line? If you continue with this heinous bill, that is what you will surely be doing.

All we are asking is for you to negotiate with us, not command us. Last time I taught Participation in Democracy, it was just that – a democracy. By ordering us to take your offer and like it, you will be initiating a course name-change. It will henceforth be called “How to Survive in a Dictatorship.”

THOMAS J. FOLEY, ELL Teacher, Lahainaluna High School


It’s time to regulate roosters in neighborhoods

Thank you for all the responses to our rooster issues! Please keep addressing this issue, and we shall take a stand on putting a stop to these noisy creatures!

It is a tough one, but not an unreasonable request. To those of you who are the owners of these roosters, please respond with your thoughts, so we may understand your situation that we may not see.

For whatever your reasons for keeping these noisy roosters in your backyard, cultural or not, the crowing is the problem. Would it be that hard to keep them QUIET, or move them to a nice secluded area that would not bother anyone’s sleep or disturb our days of peace and rest?

We will be working on our petition and looking for a way to do a website to regulate noisy roosters. Anyone with more suggestions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to voice your opinions.