Shapiro ignores big differences
David Shapiro is missing important points in his column about the Target vs. Don Quijote stores ("1 giant store to replace another in Kailua, ho-hum," Star-Advertiser, Nov. 24).
Comparing those two is strictly apples and oranges. Target is a big-box, deep-discount retail outlet that will draw shoppers from miles around into the busiest street in Kailua. Don Quijote has limited appeal and few customers who drive long distances to get there.
Target’s plans to mitigate traffic address only the street immediately fronting the site. It will do nothing to improve the congested roadways that lead into Kailua, most of them narrow, two-lane streets winding through residential neighborhoods — bumper-to-bumper traffic even without the addition of 20 percent more cars coming to a Target.
The real problem for Kailua is the growing controversy with Kaneohe Ranch and its expansionist agenda. No, it was not OK to bring a huge Whole Foods business and building into Kailua any more than to insert a giant Target into a town that does not have the infrastructure or carrying capacity to handle either. Community groups have been spontaneously springing up to protest and other long-established groups have come out in opposition.
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Speeding rarely part of accidents
The photo of the two elderly sign wavers in Wednesday’s paper illustrates a real problem. In response to a recent traffic accident, one holds a "speed kills" sign and the other sign says "slow down."
The problem is that speeding has little to do with traffic safety.
When I was on the Makiki Neighborhood Board, we had community members worried about speeding. In response, a record of accidents in the area was requested and prepared by the Honolulu Police Department. HPD found that in 2001, there were 96 motor vehicle collisions, which appeared on beat 161, and 90 motor vehicle collisions in year 2002, which occurred on beat 161. Speed was not a factor listed in any of these accident reports. Zero caused by speeding!
Don’t lower bar for isle students
I used to assume the purpose of high school was to prepare all students for the possibility of attending college. However, state Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi says that proposed diploma require- ments that would add Algebra II and more science courses might do more harm than good ("Isle grads ill-prepared for college," Star-Advertiser, Nov. 22).
To the contrary, if every student can achieve the minimalist foundation in the physical sciences of biology and chemistry along with Algebra II, Hawaii’s microcosm of society would be much more functionally literate. Even the creation of the Step Up Program for an advanced diploma is a gross admission that Hawaii’s standard high school diploma is not college prep.
The lower you set the bar, the lazier our society becomes. Please stop dumbing down Hawaii’s children. They are capable. Challenge them and they will rise to the occasion.
‘Teach and quiz’ is not new idea
Friday’s paper reports that public schools will be adopting "formative assessments" in the classroom ("New tests track kids’ strides," Star-Advertiser, Nov. 26). This appears to be modern educational babble for what we used to call quizzes.
The method of teach and quiz, teach and quiz, is tried and tested and has been around for probably hundreds of years. But this is a new idea for the DOE, and according to the article is "something of a minirevolution for some classrooms." No wonder our kids don’t do well in school.