For Sunday, July 25, 2010
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 25, 2010
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I disagree with Richard Borreca's recent characterization that my steadfast position against raising taxes on working families and small businesses is a "flawed promise" (Gubernatorial candidates offer only flawed promises," Star-Advertiser, July 20).
My record over the past seven-plus years is evidence of my strong commitment to keep down the cost of living for our citizens while balancing the budget and spending within our means.
This administration has never proposed major taxes that dug into our citizens' pocketbook. Since 2003, we proposed sound financial plans without new taxes.
We cannot tax our way to prosperity or run up the deficit like the federal government. I will continue to hold the line on taxes and work to keep down the cost of living if elected governor.
Kudos to the Star-Advertiser for the commentary on the improved test scores at Hawaii's public schools despite furlough Fridays ("Let's not test whether school furloughs are OK," Off the News, July 19).
And hurray for the kids! What an accomplishment, given their shortened school year, and what a huge testament to their hard work, as well as the support from the schools, families and community.
Indeed, the right takeaway is not that we can put public schools on furlough with impunity. Even with furloughs eliminated, bigger challenges lie ahead: Starting this year, 72 percent of students must be proficient in reading and 64 percent in math for schools to meet "adequate yearly progress" under the federal No Child Behind Act. It requires 100 percent proficiency levels by 2013-2014.
As parents and concerned citizens, we're thrilled that our teachers and students will get a supportive boost this school year under the new state law which sets minimum instructional hours and increases them year by year. This is a huge step in the right direction.
The news that Hawaii public school goals get a 'C' grade is passe in that Hawaii's public school system is on track to adopt the so-called "common core" standards. While politicians on the state Board of Education may pontificate about "a cutting-edge system of higher learning," in reality it is merely a good first step in the right direction.
Common core does move Hawaii's public school curricula forward. However, Hawaii will need to adopt still higher standards. I hope we'll steadily lengthen the number of classroom hours in a school year, or move half of the state Department of Education's central office back into classrooms to lower the student-teacher ratio. While we're at it, maybe we can raise the standards for teachers' credentials, but also develop a fund to subsidize subject-specific training for teachers. Partnerships could be established with the private sector to expose students to field-specific work environments. Partnerships with the various labor unions could be established for those who desire to pursue a trade.
I just read David Leake's letter ("GOP opposition is just politics," Letters, July 21) and was struck by the lack of supporting facts.
It is a fact that the Republicans voted against the extension of unemployment benefits, but it is also a fact that they did so after the Democrats refused to use any of the remaining unspent $350 billion dollars in stimulus funds to pay for it.
It is a fact that Congress enacted "pay as you go," which Republicans believe should be honored, especially when there is so much unused stimulus money still available.
Since Mr. Leake believes that "stimulating the economy is what unemployment benefits would actually do," why not use unspent stimulus funds for that purpose, instead of increasing an already unsustainable deficit?