Online readers are able to respond immediately to Star-Bulletin stories through our Web forum, which can be accessed at the end of stories, editorials and columns at starbulletin.com. Below is a selection of forum comments that appeared last week. Most forum contributors use pseudonyms; their "names" have been omitted here.
"Struggling to succeed / Out of reach: More isle schools fall into restructuring phase," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 3: The problems Hawaii has had with keeping up with federal standards do not surprise me. Low expectations, parental involvement and cutting early education programs have all contributed to the results. The solution is to pay more, expect more and hold children accountable for their scores.
The Washington, D.C., schools were in a horrible rut. The district had a lot of financial resources put into it but the results were consistently abysmal. The city government fired the old administrator and brought in Michelle Rhee who is very innovative and instituted several programs that are out of the norm. The D.C. school district test results showed improvement last year and indications are that progress is being made. Hawaii should study what D.C. did.
"Cockfighting case ends in 60-day jail term," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 5: I think the laws (against) gaffs and cockfighting are stupid. They put decent, hard-working, taxpaying fathers and mothers in already full prisons for doing something they believe is an art and a science and not cruelty.
They are people who spend countless hours with their roosters; families who make a living in the rooster game all suffer. Cockfighting has been traced as far back as before Christ. Gamecocks evolved into perfect warriors: no fear, vigilant, will protect their territory until death, and that goes for me, too. I will protect my way of life until death, and if going to prison is what is in store for me, then so be it.
(Cockfighting is) not just talk story and socialize; it's all about big money and the crime associated with it, not to mention the cruelty to the animals. Two months and probation is just a slap; he should have been given the whole enchilada. It's all about cash not culture. I hope we see more felons put away for this horrific bloodsport in Hawaii.
"Prison term sends strong message to cockfight sponsors," Editorial, Aug. 6:
In Hawaii, cockfighting has been banned since 1884, during the reign of King David Kalakaua and yet we have those who attempt to lay claim to their "cultural rights" by illegally gambling and fighting roosters. Why do we, those who live in Kalihi, have to accept living in Third World conditions because Hawaii leaders turn a blind eye to this antiquated form of entertainment? If you want to cockfight fly to a country where it is legal and have at it. There haven't been any cockfighting arrests in Hawaii since 2005 (except this guy at the airport) since the new federal law went into effect. Yet there are still a surplus of fighting birds being raised and cockfighting venues taking place. What gives?
"Kamehameha Schools: Preference policy facing new challenge," Star-Bulletin, Aug. 7: Kamehameha Schools took the easy way out when it settled for $7 million rather than risk a loss in the U.S. Supreme Court. Now it is coming back to bite them. Let it go to the U.S. Supremes, and let the chips fall where they may ... or the lawsuits will be never-ending resulting in the biggest transfer of wealth in Hawaiian history from KS to lawyers.
David Rosen is looking for another big paycheck. The Kamehameha Schools were created to benefit the children of Hawaii, with priority being given to those of ethnic-Hawaiian ancestry. I think these four families of the students (who are suing) are looking to make a quick buck at the expense of the Hawaiian children who deserve a quality education.
Kamehameha Schools has ignored the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop's command to educate "indigent and orphans, giving preference to those of pure or part-Aboriginal blood." Instead they have turned into a Punahou-like, elitist school for the financially better-off snobbish elitists, sprinkled with a few needy students to point to as helping the poor Hawaiians. If Kamehameha Schools ignores the will of its benefactress, then it deserves to be sued. The schools would survive a constitutional challenge if it were to adhere to the "economic need" or "indigent" criteria expressed by Pauahi.