LETTERS for the January 10 issue
How to improve the schools
I wish to address those people on the island who think that the problems with the education of our keiki can be solved by “them” (i.e., property taxpayers) throwing additional money at it.
Point #1: Why are the present school problems only a problem for the educational system to solve and not on the local school communities? When something/someone is reliant on systems, it eliminates the power of the individual and negates personal incentive and responsibility for coming up with a solution.
Private schools (as elitist as they may be perceived), for example, are more reliant on soliciting support among themselves when there is an agreed upon problem and they don’t have a “system” to blame, fall back on, etc. If you want it you make it happen either by giving personal time, talent or finances.
Why can’t our Education Department establish within the public school level a process of community organizing/empowering a local school’s parent, alumni and neighborhood communities to tackle goals needing short-term and/or long-term attention? How easy it is for each school to establish their own 501(c)(3) to raise tax-deductible funds for the school’s particular interests, for example! As every island is responsible for producing a certain percentage of its own energy, how about a community being responsible for a percentage of their own budget?
Point #2: Whoever is responsible for state and Maui County education programs isn’t doing their job. Obviously, having the “worst” school system in the nation is proof enough that the job isn’t getting done; a job of motivating, advocating, planning and creatively dealing with the problems at hand within our schools (personnel, materials, human resources, budgets, family support, etc.).
Point #3: To blame a “lack of funding” and, in reaction, to ask for more money (an education tax on property owners again) for the same incompetents to mismanage is not a good idea, yeah?
Point #4: Please note that whenever the school unions want more money for schools and their teachers, it also means THEY want more money from increased teacher/staff union dues.
Point #5: Since it’s when in Rome (Hawaii) do as the Romans (Hawaiians) do, may I suggest that until a committed process of reviewing and improving our schools is set, I suggest that instead of increasing taxes, we slice every department’s budget (exempting fire, police and safety) 1-5 percent and invest it in a trust fund governed by a benevolent board of some kind. Let’s face it.every government runs on excessive funding.
KEN DEASY, Lahaina
Make a resolution to eat healthy
With the glow of Christmas barely behind us, we look forward to the new year and the customary New Year’s Resolutions: reduce social media, reduce weight, and, this year, reduce animal food consumption.
One-third of consumers already report reducing their consumption of animal foods. Hundreds of school, college, hospital and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Monday. Even fast-food chains Chipotle, Denny’s, Panera, Subway, Taco Bell, and White Castle are rolling out plant-based options.
A dozen start-ups, led by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, are creating healthy, eco-friendly, compassionate, convenient, delicious plant-based meat and dairy products. Meat industry giants Tyson Foods, Cargill, and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods have invested heavily in plant-based meat development. So have a number of Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and PayPal pioneers.
According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, plant-based food sales have grown by 20 percent in the past year (ten times the growth rate of all foods). Sales of plant-based cheeses, creamers, butter, yogurts and ice creams are exploding at a 50 percent growth rate. Plant-based milks now account for 15 percent of the milk market.
The plant-based New Year’s Resolution requires no sweat or deprivation – just some fun exploration of your favorite supermarket and food websites.
LEX NAKAHARA, Lahaina
The meaner Trump gets, the more kindness we feel
In this difficult and traumatic holiday season, it struck me tonight that a remarkable phenomenon is occurring. With desperate migrants on the move around much of the planet, and authoritarian forces frantically erecting barricades, both literal and figurative, to turn them back, this country has shown it is not immune to the global dynamic.
But the meaner Donald Trump gets, the more kindness the evolved among us seem to feel.
The government is in partial shutdown again, with 750,000 workers furloughed or expected to work without scheduled pay. The president is going off the rails over funding for his “border wall,” while a senator noted dryly the only wall he’ll get is the one closing in on him from Robert Mueller.
Yet the midterm elections showed we also have an awakening populace, as women and minorities ran for and won elective races in record numbers, despite criminal voter suppression and outrageous gerrymandering. People are organizing on grassroots levels to foster change and accomplish it – in sustainable farming, maker spaces, arts and crafts cooperatives, intentional communities and centers of culture and learning. Creative expression is finally becoming acknowledged as a force for change.
In the vacuum created by the shameless example of the most powerful human in the free world – while he demonstrates daily that he is also the smallest, weakest, most petty and insecure – others are rediscovering their own humanity.
As we sit under the moon tonight, there is no telling if the goodness in human hearts will triumph over the fear, anger and violence in those who refuse to relinquish so much as a thread of the gilded garments in which they cloak themselves.
In their very un-Christlike behavior, they reek of hypocrisy, but they are armed and they are desperate. It will take all the good within us to subdue them or, better yet, awaken them.
We need to do it together, with love.
STEVE KLINGER, PeaceVoice