Brief asides


POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Shortage of summer classes stings

Many parents who were searching for public summer-school options this spring felt the sting of diminished options.

But now that the school calendar has been modified — again — to lengthen the summer break, maybe more choices will re-emerge next year. When things shifted in 2006-07 to a statewide uniform calendar, the summer break was cut from nine weeks to seven. What sounded like a good standardizing idea had an unintended downside: Where 76 public schools had previously offered summer classes, that number dropped to little more than 40 in each of the last two summers. That left parents, particularly those working full-time jobs, searching among fewer affordable academic options. “;Hopefully, next year we'll have more schools participating and offering summer school,”; says Department of Education spokeswoman Sandy Goya.

In the meantime: Time to start bustin' out those school-supply lists. Students head back to school as early as July 30; some schools are pushing that back to Aug. 3, a Monday.



Freeway problems no match for patrol

Oahu motorists are loving the Department of Transportation's new Freeway Service Patrol, which responds in a flash to fix relatively minor problems — flat tires and the like — that can quickly bring traffic to a standstill.

In its first 14 days, the patrol has assisted 853 drivers on the H-1 and Moanalua freeways. The free, rapid service is a great way to keep traffic moving, but shouldn't be abused by motorists who can avoid many jam-causing problems in the first place by maintaining their vehicles, keeping their gas tanks full and making sure all cargo is secure.