Diploma plan gives students easy way out
As a high school student in Hawaii, I do not agree with the state Board of Education’s position on diplomas ("BOE sets courses for new diplomas," Star-Advertiser, April 10).
The BOE wants to implement a two-diploma system: one that contains two lab sciences, at least algebra 2 and a senior project (college and career ready path), with the other requiring only algebra 1 and biology.
What makes you think that students will actually take the arduous route?
The BOE is just giving a high school student the opportunity to take the easy way out.
Students will also possibly feel that they cannot complete the arduous route, so this may cause students to start dropping out of school more and more.
Spend money on programs that will actually help high school students of Hawaii, not dummy us down.
Junior, Aiea High School
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Higher golf card fee will discourage use
The City and County’s monthly golf card for seniors has encouraged many seniors to take up the sport.
The price of the card, which allows 10 rounds of play on weekdays, holidays excluded, was raised from $40 to $45 in July 2010 and proposed to increase to $80 in July 2011 — a 100 percent increase in two years.
The increase will be a hardship for many and discourage play, the exact opposite of the intent of the senior card.
Richard Y. Will
Voodoo economics alive in HGEA deal
Gov. Neil Abercrombie boasts that his deal with the Hawaii Government Employees Association is a breakthrough achievement and will result in a 5 percent reduction in payroll costs for the state.
Really? Let’s do the math for an HGEA employee who earns $42,000 a year.
Five percent of $42,000 equals a $2,100 reduction in pay. But according to Abercrombie, that same employee will receive an additional six hours of paid time off each month.
At roughly $20 an hour that equates to $1,440 a year as a non-productive expense for the state.
As a result, the actual net savings would be $660, not $2,100. That equates to a 1.6 percent reduction in payroll expense, not 5 percent.
That’s especially worrisome when you consider that Gov. Linda Lingle had the reduction pegged correctly at around 8-10 percent to help balance the budget.
It would appear that voodoo economics is still alive and doing quite well in Hawaii, this time for union-loving Democrats.
HGEA favored-nation clause is equitable
I beg to disagree with Cynthia Thielen ("HGEA deal is bad policy," Letters, Star-Advertiser, April 13).
The favored-nation clause in the new Hawaii Government Employees Association contract is a good idea. The HGEA has usually been the first union to settle its contract with the government. Because a high percentage of government workers belong to the HGEA, the state administration and Legislature then had a good idea of worker costs and thus were able to negotiate better deals with the other unions, most times allowing those unions to get much better pay raises and benefits.
The HGEA has long been left out of these sweetheart deals because it settled first.
This favored-nation clause will now force government to negotiate fairly and equally with all unions, knowing that the HGEA will also benefit from any favored contracts negotiated with other unions.
While favored-nation clauses in contracts can be deemed as anti-competitive and collusion in the private sector, it is the fair and equitable way to ensure that all government workers benefit equally, as they will also suffer equally when furloughs or pay cuts are required.
Support legislators who support needy
Your feature on Hawaii’s homeless children is a dramatic illustration of the risk of further reducing funding for health and human service programs ("Parents raise tots in tents rather than go to shelters," Star-Advertiser, April 3).
Surveys and information that PHOCUSED (Protecting Hawaii’s Ohana, Children, Underserved, Elderly and Disabled) has gathered from our community clearly document that the social problems in our community are getting worse.
We understand that Hawaii faces a severe deficit and serious fiscal challenges.
What we also know about and understand is that problems for low-income and vulnerable individuals, families with children, persons with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities and our elderly do not disappear in the absence of attention.
What can we do?
We can insist that our legislators and the administration find ways to increase revenues to support basic health and human services.
We can demand that policymakers do the least harm to the most needy.
We can support those elected officials courageous enough to attend to those who are struggling to stay afloat.
Board chairwoman, PHOCUSED
Army shouldn’t need EIS to train in Hawaii
Did you ever hear of anything so ridiculous as demanding an environmental impact statement from the Army to conduct training for 2,600 Hawaii soldiers before being deployed to the Middle East ("Lack of permit ties up Army’s copter training," Star-Advertiser, April 4)?
This training can be life-saving.
Years ago the community made a lot of noise because an EIS failed to address how a certain species of bug would be affected in Kawai Nui Marsh.
Yet nobody cared one bit about another species called Homo sapiens living on the sidewalks of Fort Street Mall.
Talk about government waste. This EIS process wins first prize.
George S. Brosky