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Hawaii teachers march to Capitol calling for better pay

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    Thousands of teachers gathered at the Capitol today to call for better pay.


    Pam Corpuz-Lahne, a retire Aikahi Elementary School teacher, waited at the Capitol this morning for teachers marching to call for better pay.

Hawaii teachers marched to the state Capitol to call for better pay.

They rallied today while the union is in the midst of contract negotiations with the state.

Hawaii State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee said insufficient funding has led to a teacher shortage. He said Hawaii teachers are the lowest-paid in the nation when cost of living is considered.

Teachers are also pushing legislation to change the tax code and direct more money to public schools. They want to create an education surcharge on residential investment properties such as second homes.

Critics such as the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce say it would be unfair to levy a surcharge on some residents and not others. They also say the tax would probably get passed on to renters.

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  • Teachers are marching in the wrong place. They should be marching on DOE headquarters demanding higher pay from their bosses, not the taxpayes. DOE has more than enough money to give them raises, but DOE squanders it on bureaucratic waste, bloat, and overstaffing.

        • Teachers get paid enough, considering they’re only at work for 9 months out of the year. And they’re paid no differently than other city and state employees in Hawaii. Is this why a lot of schools had “Teacher Workshop” today–so they could protest?!

        • If I thought I was being underpaid, I would go out and find a job that paid what I was worth. Teachers are free to do the same however Private schools actually pay less than the DOE. Perhaps a career change should be considered.
          HSTA has some nerve stating that ” Hawaii teachers are the lowest paid when the cost of living is considered”.
          That statement would be true for almost every government and private sector job in Hawaii. Teachers are no better than any other state employee group, to make such statements implies they think they’re more deserving or important than other public employees.

    • They should be marching at the Hawaii Tourism Authority headquarters.

      Seriously, cut the HTA budget and give it to the teachers. HTA is so shady and have too much admin bloat.

      I’d rather pay teachers than the tourism authority.

      • I’ve always asked how does the HTA determine their ROI? Years ago before the internet Mufi wanted $500k to plaster a sign on the Hawaiian Punch funny car. Thing is, that car raced in the southeast of the US. An area that the average person could not afford to come to Hawaii nor cared to. Someone cleverly suggested taking those funds and investing it into 40 1-900 phone lines. Advertise 10 free round trip tickets to Hawaii to be given away every day to lucky random callers. Each call would be charged $2.99. This alone had the potential of generating $172k a day. $120k after expenses. This would be completely self sustaining. But, then again, some lawmaker will figure out a way to divert the funds generated to some other self interest. Still, thats not an excuse to deter from trying…

    • Agreed! And they need to first get their curriculum together for better results before wasting more money in compensation. Eliminate the fat from the administration and contract private school administrators to lead the way.

      • Would you have access to curriculum that delivers better results? Sounds interesting. How does contracting private school administrators make it more feasible? What kinds of fat would be trimmed? You might be on to something here…

        • A comparison study of public versus private school curriculum and student achievements should measure the effectiveness of the administration. The fat is the fatxss paychecks the administrators get compared to teachers.

        • And it would be a win-win as the students will not have to endure the hot temperatures in the oppressively heated classrooms in August!

      • Hon, HSTA lacks credibility. All they do is ask for more and more and more money, refusing to accept responsibility for the shoddy educational product they deliver.

        Hon, HSTA/BOE/DOE could cut their deadwood bureaucracy by 50% just to start. Take all the money saved and put it back into the system so teachers are not buying supplies.

        Hon, as we have seen for decades, bureaucrats at HSTA/BOE/DOE all fail to understand higher pay, like respect, most be earned.

    • One has to laugh at the utter incompetence of the HSTA president who actually thinks teachers deserve more money without earning it. Without being held accountable for the low rating Nei schools have.

      Corey fails to understand higher pay, like respect, must be earned. Taxpayers have seen decades of incompetence at HSTA/BOE/DOE and will not throw more money down that endless pit.

      When HSTA/BOE/DOE finally accept responsibility for their willful failure to deliver a quality educational product, reduce the deadwood bureaucracy by over 50%, then taxpayers will know they get it.

      Sad to say just another day in the little 15th world of Hawaii Nei.

  • these people shame making fools of themselves marching around carrying signs. not paid enough? go find another job. public schools suck.
    many good teachers some bad teachers that have tenure can’t be fired. charter schools coming. will fix that

        • No they have to go down and swallow the red union pill, certainly its much more like institutionalize day, and today should be a school day, let them do those union stunts on the weekend.

        • If you go to the HSTA website and click on the “details about Oahu Institute Day” link, you’ll see a very detailed itinerary that seems dedicated to union affairs with very little time for any kind of professional development. 45 min. for “professional collaboration”, whatever that is. Talk story?

        • The problem isn’t money…we spend more per student than most places…the problem is all the unionized, non-teachers sucking money out of the system. There must be two “administrative” drones at DOE over every actual teacher.

  • this walk will be the hardest many of these teachers have worked so far this year.
    There are dedicated teachers who actually teach all day long, but there are many many teachers who do nothing in the classroom. They get away from teaching by creating lesson plans on the computer, while the teachers reads, watches movie, texts their friends, etc etc etc. The union protects these loser teachers.

  • “Hawaii teachers are the lowest-paid in the nation when cost of living is considered” — isn’t that true about any job in Hawaii? Also, do they bother to compare the strength of collective bargaining rights the teachers have in Hawaii, compared to other states? How about the retirement benefits teachers in Hawaii get compared to other states (like free health, medical, vision, drug, and dental coverage for the teacher and spouse, for life)?

    Personally, I would be fine with giving the teachers a big raise, but I’d also like to see them work year-round like other employees, for the full 12 months.

    • Very good points Ryan. While the teacher continue to have these benefits to include retirement, the people in the private sector continue to lose ground, even to the teachers in the form of these same benefits.

        • Aside from the benefits ryan02 mentioned (forget about 21 days sick leave and every bleeding holiday on the calendar), what exactly are we in the private sector delusional about?

      • So because the private sector, where unions are shrinking, is scaling back benefits (no small coincidence), everyone else should as well? Talk about envy leading to bitterness and the crab bucket mentality.

        • The point is: Teachers in Hawaii’i are indeed underpaid, however, the benefits and other perks far outweigh what the rest of us get, yet, still cry, beg, moan and of course waste tax-payer money to let it be known.

        • Absolutely, it is the private sector workers who fund the public worker benefits.
          Why should the general public provide public workers with benefits that are largely no longer available to the private sector workforce?

        • He probably if the working conditions were better–especially for a new teacher. But because there’s so much bureaucracy and favoritism at schools–that’s why a lot of people don’t want to teach. It’s not the money.

    • This morning news had this guy from Maui being interviewed. He stated the low pay when the cost of living is factored. Really? Getting tired listening to that as ALL of Hawaii must put up with the cost of living. Then he rambled on saying that he must leave school at 3 each day to go to his second job. What? Teachers keep saying about the long hours they put in. Guess not this guy.

      • I saw him too and he had the b-lls to say that his teaching performance drops due to his part time job! Makes Maui teachers look really bad, I have friends and family who’re teachers here on Maui and they don’t mon-ku like these teachers. Not the right way to look for raises. Pound on the union to deal with DOE/State , no body wants/ need more taxes. Once taxed, always taxed, never gets back to people.

      • When I was younger, I worked three jobs and my wife worked two. If that’s what you have to do to get ahead, then that’s what you have to do. If you’re not willing to do things for yourself but complain about the low pay, then that’s your choice. If you want more money, change careers or get a second/third job like I did. The choice is up to you.

    • I agree ryan02. I can’t stand it when they say they are the lowest paid when cost of living is considered. We all are the lowest paid when cost of living is considered. My children and now grandchildren are all going through the public school and I can tell you they are not all great teachers. There is some real losers in the system. There were years I thought my kids lost because of a lousy teachers.

  • If they’re not happy with their teaching jobs, they have the freedom to resign and find other employment opportunities. They should relocate to the mainland! Why live in Hawaii where teachers’ pay is so lousy?

    • So, you’re opposed to anyone (or group of anyones) trying to improve a situation they aren’t happy with?

      “If you don’t like it, get the eff out”, eh? You’ve either aimed low your entire life or turned tail and ran whenever things didn’t go your way. Neither is a choice to be proud of.

      • In the private sector, if a person wants to improve his situation, he finds a better job with better pay. He doesn’t sit around whining and moaning to the boss. If he did, he would be the next one to be laid off or fired.

    • Leaving teaching, would that elevate Education? What if it’s your own kids who has a unqualified teacher (s) as their Teacher for the school year who limits their potential for success in life?

  • These are the same people who have fought – and won – efforts to require drug testing. They’ve also won the right to work as teachers with no periodic competency testing. When they agree to drug and competency testing, I’ll agree to more pay. Until then, I see them ALL as incompetent and high.

    • Do you get mandatory drug testing? And how your going to test competency? Standardized tests which they study for all year long, too busy to teach. Our reviews by administrators who are biased. Nobody has come up with a fair system that actually determining competency.

    • HSTA is not credible. They failed to support the expansion of the public pre-k that would help with elementary school scores and teacher success. Teachers here are paid much betetr than our teachers in North Dakota but the scores in Hawaii are not nearly as good.

      • Really? Where do you get your facts from? It took me all of 30 seconds to find out that the 2015 NAEP scores for North Dakota went DOWN for BOTH 4th and 8th grade math. LOL.

        • One year blip…but much better than here. Teachers out here are very well paid. Cost of living? go to Oklahoma.

        • Allie just got owned by her own trump card, her State. From now on, when I hear about North Dakota, I’m going to LMFAO!

      • Nuff with the pre-k Allie,
        It’s just an overpriced child care development program. Any day-care provider could do the same thing without additional taxing of the public.

  • It is not JUST THE TEACHERS that are losing out to insufficient pay. We, the people of Hawai’i know all too well that the cost of living here is not proportionate to mainland pay vs expense.
    I can tell you that the teachers have out-paced many private sector jobs in the amount of increase they have rec’d over the last few years.
    Most teachers will tell you they do it for the love, the kids, our future. But, when it comes right down to it, I’m guessing many are changing their tunes to “the money”

  • I know several public school teachers that recently told me they were looking forward to summer break since they would have a few months off to just travel and relax. What other job allows that?

  • First a surcharge on investment real estate. And then the surcharge is amended to apply to all real estate. And then they will want an income tax surcharge and excise tax surcharge. And on and on. Who will get all the marbles? Rail or the teachers?

  • I have news for teachers. They are not the only ones here whose pay is lower than those on the mainland.
    The other thing is that paying teachers more over the years has not translated into higher measurable rates of student learning.
    The DOE yearly budget is higher than most of the other state agencies and this has been the situation for many years but with questionable results.
    Somehow, very little of the money seeps down to the school level. A major audit of the DOE is way overdue and the findings need to be binding on
    the DOE, the BOE, and the Governor to address and fix.

  • I was a teacher for 30 years and retired recently. Majority of the teachers work their butt off. My first job was when Waihee was governor. I was really thankful to be paid 13K a year. I always felt like I had good wages. One thing I realized is that many union workers in Hawaii want their “fair share” I am in Idaho now and unions are weak. Here there is the “right to work” law so you don’t have to be part of unions. There is a certain amount of money put forth by the Board of Education and the schools have to live with it. Now we will vote on a bill (our district) to either fund facilities with 17 M or fund teaching stuff with 17 M. 17 M sounds like peanuts compared to how much Hawaii DOE has in Hawaii. The superintendent here has a few staff and the board. Hawaii DOE is a monster. So get this, every elementary school here in my district has a 5 star gym and secure buzzed in entrance. The county and state teamed up to pay for gym. The public gets to use gym and playground. Win Win

    • You made a smart move by leaving for Idaho. I think in the next few years, more and more people will out-migrate as things here get worse and worse
      and any hope for things to improve evaporate. Those who are young, smart and talented are already doing this as they see there is no future for them

      • Wasn’t my choice because wife got sick from VOG but there are many benefits here. I love Hawaii but a few years ago when I was bored, I counted 700+ jobs at the DOE Oahu booklet. Outrageous!!!! Have a good day.

      • Yes, increasing migration of local education majors. My niece and her roommates all obtained degrees in education and remained in Oregon to teach. They love the education system there and the support provided by the administration. Teachers and students are provided with the tools they need and the facilities are clean.

  • According to HSTA’s own website Teacher Institute Day was created by the State Legislature “to provide time for teachers to meet together and work on SCHOOL [emphasis added] related topics.” The website even brags about a court ruling in a workers’ compensation case that Teacher Institute Day is “a work day and not a personal day.” If that is true then what the heck are teachers doing marching in a union rally at the State Capitol? That’s not work, that’s lobbying, and the taxpayer money that pays teacher salaries isn’t supposed to be used for lobbying.

    This is a perfect example of why the teachers and the HSTA lack credibility with most of the private sector workforce. Why aren’t the local media and our politicians pointing out this obvious misuse of public funds? Just because the teaching profession is important and most teachers are good hardworking people doesn’t change the fact that we pay teachers to work, not march.

    • taxpayers are paying for them to use this day to plan and prepare, for the betterment of the keiki. They’re choosing to ignore this fact, and instead use the day to panhandle at the state capital.

  • Here we go again, general public complaining about the teachers. Teachers are professionals and the majority of them perform at a high level. If you’re disenchanted with their performance or better yet salary demands, then why don’t you one day try teaching a class? 99.9% of the general public would quit after several hours. Students would run circles around most of you so called adults! At days end, teachers hold the upper hand and will get their bargaining demands as Ige owes it to the teachers! Time to fork out Gov!

    • I don’t think the majority who are posting disagree that teachers are underpaid. Rather, this march was organized for personal gains and does nothing for the classroom. If we’re paying them to attend an institute day, then all activities should be about the classroom. Why should they get paid for a personal gain activity? The march should be done on their own time, not during work time.

      • But hSTA has rejected any merit pay that really would reward the few excellent teachers out there. Most are average and some much worse. Identify the great teachers and reward them. Most teachers here are just happy to have jobs.

        • So you’re saying that it’s ok to participate in an activity for personal gains and get paid for it because HSTA rejected merit pay raises?

      • This is a non school day for kids. Teachers chose to spend their non school day marching and participating in workshops paid for by the Union. Does anyone criticize what you do on your day’s off or weekends? What part dont you understand?
        If your a janitor and no one uses the room you clean for a day, is it your fault you didnt have to clean it?

        • Nobody has any reasons to criticizes me on what I do on my days off or the weekend. It’s totally ok for me to do what I want because I’m NOT on company time. It’s my personal time to do what I want. On the other hand, this was not a day off or a weekend for the teachers. They’re on company time and decided to pursue something personal in nature. This was a personal cause march and therefore should be on their own personal time. At the same time, did the union pay the salaries for the day? I don’t think so. What part of the above don’t you understand?

  • I believe there are truly “some” teachers that really do deserve an increase in their pay for going mile, but there are those that just sit in the classroom and teach nothing and expect to have raises for doing nothing.

    • BINGO! you nailed it shawn! If teachers want a rasie, they have to agree to have a live video cam for every class they teach. block out the student faces. Kinda like traffic cam!!
      this will surely get those lazy good for nothing teachers off their sorry butt and start teaching. There are lots of great teachers, but there are also lots of losers who hide behind the union and the admin and union always say they can’t do nothing.
      put up a teacher cam for the public to watch the great teaching that goes on daily. Drug testing was a scam, teacher eval was another scam. teachers are not held accountable. That is the difference from the private sector.

  • They’re getting paid now for the quality of thay they are putting out…which is below par for national standards. Improve your quality of work, then you get a pay raise..

      • I think Scooter forgets why a person chooses to become a teacher. Most (I hope) do it because they have the child’s and public’s welfare in mind. Some do it for the benefits (don’t scoff and laugh) as they are well compensated in benefits compared to many in the private sector living and working in the islands. You know of or have heard of many teachers abusing the system, relying on tenure to support their inability or lack of motivation to actually teach. Some just put in their time with no regard for the future of the children. Who monitors and assesses these teachers actions & performance? No one…
        Teachers choose to be teachers because they wanted to make a difference in their community and probably loved children, not for the pay and they accepted the challenge teaching offers (well, anyway it used to be that way a long time ago).

  • Most jobs in Hawaii when compared to mainland with cost of living will be lower, teachers are not the only ones. They should match to the DOE, BOE offices to demand restructuring and cutting of administrative ‘fats’, and match right back to school to prepare for classes.

  • All of you are right. We should fire them all for their greed and failure to turn all of our keiki into brilliant scholars. While we’re at it, we should fire the entire DOE administration staff of lazy bums. Since we won’t need the buildings, offices, and classrooms, we can sell them or just demolish them and use the land for something more useful. We could then get rid of compulsory K-12 education to get the state out of the schooling business. If parents can’t afford to send their kids to private schools, then they should get a 2nd or 3rd job to earn the tuition. The state would end up saving tons of money that’s now being wasted by stupid teachers and do-nothing administrators who don’t have a clue about teaching. Yes, once we get rid of the cancer of public education, our islands will become the paradise that it once was with no more thieving educators stealing our hard-earned money. Why did it take us so long to figure this out. It’s been the educators all along who are responsible for high taxes, homelessness, unemployment, low wages, high cost of living, high crime rates, and you name it. We should gather them all up and shoot them like the rats that they are. Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day…

  • So that’s what teachers institute day is for. Crying about their pay. Shouldn’t you guys be doing something productive to help the students? You guys should cry about your pay on a Saturday or Sunday! Smh!

  • They are asking for a property tax surcharge on investment properties and a daily fee on transient accommodations that charge less than $150 per day. The union hopes to raise a half-billion annually for raises for teachers in an untouchable fund. The State Department of Education already has a $1.9 billion budget. This is a dedicated fund coming out of the paycheck of every working person in Hawaii. Why should we allow another legislative action to set aside and dedicate another taxable funding source to generate another $500 million a year that would also put them at the top of the spending priority?

  • People should be taxed HEAVILY for every child they have until that child completes high school. By choice, I have zero children. Why should I have to pay for public schools, teachers, playgrounds, child care centers, public youth programs and the like? There are already way too many people on this island, in this state and worldwide. People should also be heavily taxed for selling their eggs and sperm. Stop making so many babies! And take away any and all benefits that people enjoy because they have children. That only rewards them for overpopulating this planet.

  • We should look at Japan’s educational system. mandatory to 14 year of age. Take test to continue public high school, if you can’t get into a public high school then your parents pay for private school. You can also go to trade/technical training or you can opt to just join the work field. This will solve many of our over crowding. It will also allow students to be productive in choosing to get into a work training program. Designate certain high schools as the college prep school, trade schools, business school and what not. And the ones who don’t care to learn, they can get a job and work.

    If this doesn’t fly, then lets install video cameras (teacher cam) in every classroom, library, administration office, and every office on campus. Make it live every single day!! Parents only have access to their child’s teacher cam, but every parent has access to non classroom cams. sounds good to me! IF teachers and union agree to this, then lets give um all a raise!
    Also, tied into this agreement will be all the district and state, adult community schools teachers and staff all have to return to the school level. All we need is the teacher cam!!

  • Why should teachers that have 15 or more years make a lot more money. Are they better than the rest of the teachers? NO. All teachers should have the same pay & principals should have a budget to include more pay for teachers who deserve a raise.

  • Reading this, I am reminded of Mark Zuckerberg and the many towers going up in Kakaako. I think about Gucci, pucci, fiorucci (or whatever designer stores are opening in Ala Moana – I don’t know them, I never go there anymore). I think about the foreign owned hotels, sucking huge dollars out of Hawaii, and sending their profits to all points off these shores. I think about that company Ansaldo. You know, the rail guys (building the trains? Badly?), sucking even more millions out of Hawaii to send back to Italy. I think of reading new car stickers, and seeing THOUSANDS of dollars in “destination charges”, or whatever the add ons are called. I think about how the commercials hyping $5 dollar pizzas on cable are not relevant to us. Call the pizza company, and the $5 deal is $10. The fast food ads are “alternative facts” in Hawaii. So, on one hand, I know why the teachers want more $$$$. But, more taxes aren’t the answer. Our leaders have to grow a set of basketballs. Stop the economic abuse of the good residents of this State.

  • HSTA prez does not look underpaid. You keep voting for the same people, what do you expect? You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. That’s why I no longer vote for a Dem and I was a registered one, not a talking head. Auwe!

  • K12 in utter disrepair, especially in Hawaii. The inefficiences and waste due to union control is staggering! Look no further than the side show around the DeVos nomination, when the largest lobby in DC – the teachers union – mobilized all of the bought and paid for career politicians to denounce someone who wants to bring honest change to a broken educational system. Many teachers just caught in the middle. They should rally around leaving the DOE and forming a new network of independently run charter schools with higher standards and some actual results.

  • Hilarious! to all the Naysayers, you should try be a Teacher before you put your foot in your mouth. To our Teachers, you should take their recommendations and just not care. If you are a relative new incoming Teacher, move on to another field. If you are a veteran Teacher, either do the same or retire as soon as you can. Recommend to all; friends, students, colleagues, etc. to not go into the field of public school teaching. Leave it to the non-certified personnel, people off the streets, unqualified and/or, online schools where there are no or minimal Teacher involvement in a student’s learning. And make sure that all the Naysayers children attend the public schools. While Naysayers are at it, let’s do the same for doctors, lawyers,dentists, tradesmen, etc. No need certification, no need standards of competencies, just wing it! As for Teachers, instead of 1600 vacancies, let it go to double or triple that. Get out of the field where it’s not respected, poorly compensated for your the amount of education/training/experience you have in working w/All kinds of students, not supported by Administration, the public, the law makers. Cut the students loose on the streets and just have roll the dice and have them struggle in life, not achieve their potential, burden the gov’t support services. It’s a cruel world out here post high school, let em fend for themselves. Teachers, just move on to better opportunities. The Naysayers can fix the problems afterall, ignorance is bliss!

    • So taxpayers that question the return on the billions we’re spending on education thats yielded some of the lowest measures of academic performance in the developed world are naysayers? Heaven forbid anyone ever criticize anything in Hawaii, no talk stink cuz den u one naysaya. Rather, lets just go on with our lives completely oblivious to the third world we are quickly becoming.

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