Deportment Of Education - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

May 16, 2011

Deportment Of Education

The newly-appointed Department of Education certainly has its work cut out for it, but two glaring issues have come to light recently that need to be addressed. First, there is the issue of dwindling summer school options for interested and needy students. The number of schools offering these necessary programs has fallen in half over the past seven years- from 75 to 37. From losing money to the relatively short nature of summer breaks, there are many reasons offered for the chopping of summer school offerings. There are other in-school options being offered plus on-line courses, but since the available courses fill up quickly- the demand is still there for summer sessions and this must be addressed.

Second, there is the length of instruction time, and lack of instruction time, that means our public schools don't meet the weekly time standards in about 80% of the elementary schools. This state needs to negotiate with the teachers unions and find the money or whatever it takes to ensure that our kids have the best chance to succeed later in life. Short school days are not the only problem, of course, and some schools do meet testing standards even with shorter days, but that's not an ideal situation.

Parental involvement in their kid's daily routines and lessons is always necessary, as are other factors, but having kids engaged in class, in phys. ed., and in the learning environment for an extra hour a day just seems more logical than having the final bell ring at 1:30 or 2pm. The key, once the law is passed to mandate longer days, will be to make sure that the extra time is fruitful and stimulating without burdening overworked, under-resourced teachers. If we don't correct these things, please, let's stop pretending we really do care about education as a meaningful life path. Think about it…

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