Thursday, December 20, 2001

Kamehameha Schools
steps up to the plate

The issue: The trust proposes
ways to improve the education
of Hawaiian children.

Kamehameha Schools' impressive plans to extend its programs to 46,000 Hawaiian children is a testament to the organization's return to its primary objective of education. As a proposed partner to Hawaii's public schools, state leaders should do as much as possible to support the trust's efforts and clear any legal hurdles that may stand in the way.

Kamehameha intends to reach children beyond the 3,500 enrolled at its campuses on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii, which represent a small percentage of the estimated 30,000 to 40,000 children of Hawaiian ancestry. Although they are the trust's primary beneficiaries, the institution's plans will help public schools as well if its early childhood education programs better prepare students for the classroom. The trust's financial assets could strengthen public education for all children through affiliated projects.

Its initial undertaking to increase programs for preschool-age children recognizes a key component of success in education. Studies have shown that children who attend good preschools not only learn better, but are less likely to drop out or become involved in crime and have fewer social problems in later years.

About 1,000 students are enrolled in Kamehameha preschools and the trust hopes to extend its program to 11,000 in the next five years. Its new approach would provide scholarships to 10,000 children to attend other accredited institutions, shifting its funds away from building more structures to aiding students directly.

The trust's proposal to match the operating budgets of public schools with large numbers of Hawaiian children, such as those in the Waianae region and Waimanalo, could benefit non-Hawaiian students as well. For example, a cooperative reading program between Kamehameha and Nanakuli Elementary School has resulted in improvements for children overall.

The trust's mission to educate the children of Hawaii has been overshadowed during the past few years by controversies involving mismanagement of its finances and discord about the operations at the Kapalama campus, resulting in the ouster of five members of its board of trustees. The discord had eroded the confidence of Hawaiians, who are largely at the bottom economic rung.

After reorganization and appointment of new trustees, Kamehameha Schools appears to have emerged with a renewed sense of purpose. For the trust to succeed, public school officials and state lawmakers must take up its cause. Its bold blueprint for enlarging its circle of beneficiaries bodes well for the educational progress of Hawaiians, which, in turn, will mean the betterment of Hawaii.

Remember 9-11-01

Don’t delay tightening
security at airports

The issue: Airlines are seeking
to postpone an important deadline
for airport security checks.

ONLY a month after President Bush signed into law new requirements for beefed-up security at the nation's airports, airlines are seeking to delay their full implementation. The industry is asking for a 30-day postponement of inspecting all checked bags, a requirement that received a full hearing before approval by Congress. The country cannot risk another terrorist attack in order to appease the airlines.

The airlines, whose penny-pinching security methods were revealed after Sept. 11, are trying to coax Congress into authorizing the delay by tacking an amendment onto a defense appropriations bill now before a House-Senate conference. As a key Senate conferee, Senator Inouye is in a position to insist that the new law's security measures be put in force on schedule. We urge him to do so.

The aviation security law transferred airport security functions from the airlines to the Department of Transportation. It requires that a new system to inspect all checked baggage for explosives be in place by Jan. 18. Congress provided broad options for performing the job -- machines that detect explosives, hand searches of luggage, bomb-sniffing dogs or other procedures.

The Air Transport Association, the airlines' lobby, complains that the increased security could increase passenger waiting times. Instead, it proposes the use of a passenger profiling system and selective searches of the most suspicious baggage.

Norman Y. Mineta, the secretary of transportation, is sensitive to the balance needed between security and efficiency, and is cognizant of Americans' tolerance of meaningful measures to assure aviation safety. Mineta expressed doubts last month about whether the deadline could be met but has said since then that his department will try to meet it. His plan is to increase hand searches of bags and the matching of checked luggage to passengers.

Checking the luggage manifest against the names of all passengers for a flight is routine at European airports. Airlines in the United States have conducted such matches on international flights for several years, and the process should be extended to all flights without creating unduly cumbersome problems.

Airlines, airport managers, pilots, consumer groups and the technology industry are trying to influence the implementation of the new security measures. Fortunately, Congress and the Bush administration indicate that they intend to keep the requirements in place.

Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, managing editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
assistant managing editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, assistant managing editor 529-4762;

Richard Halloran, editorial page director, 529-4790;
John Flanagan, contributing editor 294-3533;

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