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Letters to the Editor

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Students need more class time

I have been hearing and reading much about lengthening the school day to improve learning. Length of the day is not the problem; having students in the classroom is.

I teach high school: I have three classes per week with my students. However, my students often miss 33 percent of that time, if not more. They cannot be in class because they go on field trips, have athletic events, take part in assemblies, practice to take part in assemblies, set up booths to sell tickets during lunch, attend student government meetings or "adult friends of youth" meetings, prepare for science fairs, judge science fairs or get pulled out of class to see counselors or other teachers.

If I could just keep my students in my classroom for those three periods per week, I could teach them what they need to know about my subject.

Caroline Steele
Kapolei

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

Thank you, Vicky Cayetano

Vicky Cayetano, the subject of Friday’s editorial section interview, deserves the thanks of concertgoers like me for her courageous attempt to revive the Hono-lulu Symphony, as do her current collaborators and past members of the symphony board who struggled to preserve this institution. Perhaps this new crop can find the formula for success that eluded their predecessors. Good luck.

However, these efforts must confront intractable facts. Symphony orchestras are in trouble not only in Honolulu but in many other American cities.

Aside from the current weak economy, the key problem appears to be a failure to attract the younger generation. Audiences are in large part gray-haired and often relying on canes.

I think a principal reason is the decline of music education and appreciation in the schools. Young people — and the not-so-young — think music began with rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s. That is their "classical" music. Their standard musical group consists of electric guitar, drums, bass and keyboard. How do you compete with that?

Carl H. Zimmerma
Honolulu

Homeless could use ‘tough love’

I laud the governor’s plan to move the homeless from Waikiki, tourist places and downtown areas. I would call it "tough love."

Move them in any way to make them safe and secure at a single location. I suggest a tent city at Kalaeloa and other locations, using large troop tents for dining halls, chapels and hospital and tents for families. All donated food should be delivered to those locations.

Russ Noguchi
Pearl City

Health insurers’ profits sickening

The front page showing our two major insurance companies showing a large profit nearly made me sick ("Insurance companies report healthy profits," Star-Advertiser, May 17).

They are increasing premiums to the point that small businesses cannot manage. Will they be happy when they have a lot fewer people to insure, or will they just raise the premiums even more?

Just days ago the front page was about Medicaid/ QUEST reduction — which these two companies are part of — for many, many people. Does anyone care?

Barbara Williams
Haleiwa

Hirono unfair to attack Lingle

Mazie Hirono launched her senatorial campaign by misleading the public and mischaracterizing former Gov. Linda Lingle’s record on energy independence and education reform and her relationship with President Barack Obama.

From the beginning, Gov. Lingle championed public education reform, including modernizing the governance structure, revamping poor performing schools, instituting merit pay for teachers and increasing the rigor of achievement tests. She was also at the forefront of STEM programs, especially robotics. Her administration played a pivotal role in developing the Race to the Top education program that was awarded $75 million.

Gov. Lingle supports the president and any public official when they propose good ideas, but will also disagree with policies she believes are not in Hawaii’s or America’s best interest.

She launched Hawaii toward energy independence; her landmark Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative was lauded by President Obama’s Energy Department as a model for other states.

Voters need to ask what Hirono has done in 25-plus years in government and why she attacks someone else’s record instead of talking about her own.

Barry Fukunaga
:Former chief of staff, Lingle administration

Good choices require character

What is going on with society these days?

With Arnold Schwarzenegger having an affair, Dominique Strauss-Kahn accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid, and fraud allegations against the Honolulu Police Department, it seems that society is having a lack of character and maturity.

We have to realize that what defines us as individuals is the choices we make, especially those we make under the gun. When we are under the pressure of temptation, it should be wired in us to always say no. To live a life without regret requires us to have character and maturity.

Alan Kim
Wahiawa

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