Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Readers react to
Attack on America
Terrorists succeeded in uniting AmericansRegarding last week's attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon: This cowardly act of war has only made America stronger. We will stand together to find whoever did this and make them pay.
We will punish them for the pain that they have caused to the victims, their family and friends. This action will be not be forgotten. As the old saying goes, "United we stand, divided we fall," and we are united and stronger than ever.
I am proud to be an American citizen, and I am also proud to be a part of this great and beautiful country called America.
Stevenson Middle School
Evangelists descend to a new lowTV evangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell's comments -- that Americans deserved the barbarous attack of a week ago -- expose them for the dangerous demagogues that they have always been.
Their comments in fact barely distinguish them from the monstrous conduct of Osama bin Laden. Perhaps they would not have hijacked an American passenger plane full of innocent people and flown it into the World Trade Center, but they apparently believe the action was ordained by God.
The danger of orthodoxy, be it Christian, Muslim or Jewish, has always been its zealous intolerance of "the other."
Falwell and Robertson should say an extra prayer tonight and thank God they are Americans. Many countries would have them shot for their comments.
"There's a general sense of helplessness. It's hard for us to sit back and watch this." Attilio Leonardi
Honolulu fire chief, on the attack on the World Trade Center, where nearly 300 New York firefighters remain lost beneath the rubble
"I want justice. There's an old poster out West that I recall said, 'Wanted, dead or alive.' " President Bush
On the hunt for terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden
Don't get complacent about airport securitySecurity is air-tight at the airports these days. Travelers are understanding and patient while their stuff and their persons are scrutinized. Let's be prepared to make the beefed-up security something we expect and demand. We mustn't allow it to become lax over time, as has happened in the past. And as time goes on, let's not become impatient with the security personnel. When they want to double-check a bag, instead of giving them an impatient look, smile and thank them for doing a good job -- they are looking out for us.
Security measures, intelligence failedIn the aftermath of the terrorist plane crashes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York, there are questions: How was it possible for terrorists to hijack four planes from different airlines? Are the preventive measures so ineffective? Who was at the controls of the planes just before they hit the skyscrapers? What is the estimated amount of property damage and how will hijacking affect airline travel?
It's clear we need to beef up security in airports and airlines to prevent future hijacking. More federal government and airlines spending on security and preventive measures are needed. The FBI and CIA are not doing an effective job, as they should, in preventing hijacking and terrorism.
How Tim Chang
Expect more bad news about isle economyIt will be some time before we know what will happen to Hawaii as a result of the attack on America. However, based on what happened during the Gulf War, we should prepare for some hard times. The economic effect will be immediate, dramatic and long term.
During the past 10 years corporate reserves have vanished (except big insurance). There is no safety net for a downturn. They will either sell out to buyers or try layoffs and downsizing in hope of surviving until things improve.
This time though, expect the layoffs to hit middle management hard -- those $50,000 to $60,000 salaried jobs that drive purchasing power in Hawaii. There is just no fat left to sustain corporate staff levels. The cultural effects on our Ohana also will be profound and lay the foundation of disenchantment that will propel a Republican coalition into power.
Special ed students literally not countedI have been teaching special education classes in Hawaii for more than 15 years. Before this, I was a regular education teacher at an American school in Germany. There, each special education child in my class counted not as one student, but as two because a teacher needs to spend extra time and effort in at least 90 percent of the cases.
In Hawaii, some special education students leave the regular classroom for as little as a half-hour a day, so the regular education teacher is responsible for nearly all of that child's education.
Yet these children are not counted at all in the regular education classroom. To put it simply, if a regular class has 27 students, and four are special education students, the teacher has a count of 23 students.
People of Hawaii, we need to have a change. Speak to the schools, the districts, the state, your legislators.
Teachers demoralized by education systemTeachers are back in their classrooms, but their bodies and spirits are not integrated and intact. They suffer from the "Stepford Wives syndrome," forcing them to appear pleasant, focused and, of course, compliant.
Mandates flowing freely down to the schools are cheerily accepted. Felix-related tasks multiply and divide and are embraced without much more than a mutter of the word absurd. The terms "professional" and "accountability" are constantly bandied about, but no one seems to be clear on their meanings. Are they being used to oppress and promote a feeling of inadequacy -- or perhaps guilt -- in an already demoralized work force? And there is no pay raise in sight.
Rigid compliance appears to be essential for the survival of our education system, but destructive for the souls of individuals within. The contract ratified by many of the teachers is a very small first step in giving teachers some recognition. It does not address enough of the larger spiritual issues, and the monetary compensation, in my opinion as a veteran of 28 years of teaching, is weak.
Our students need to know their teachers as integrated, empowered individuals and role models. Ultimately, each teacher will need to decide for themselves what this means.
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