Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Teachers may get
endorsement power

The HSTA might give members
a 'vote of affirmation' on
its favored candidates

By Richard Borreca


After four years of criticism about how the Hawaii State Teachers Association endorses political candidates, the politically powerful union is working on a new procedure.

But a critic of the program, veteran Maui teacher Les Skillings, said the proposal "is like having somebody chew your food for you."

In the last two gubernatorial elections, in 1998 and 1992, teachers complained that the union was selecting candidates that were not popular with teachers.

At the HSTA convention yesterday in Waikiki, Karen Ginoza, HSTA president, said a team of union officials has spent a year drafting a new endorsement procedure.

"The members have said they want a bigger say," Ginoza explained.

The HSTA appointed a task force to come up with a better way. The new proposal would have the candidate's apply for endorsement, and they would be interviewed by a group of teachers and union officials.

Then the political action committee would review the candidates and draw up a list of candidates that would be forwarded to the entire membership for a "vote of affirmation."

But, Ginoza said, candidates that did not win approval from the political action committee would not be sent to the general membership.

"If the board preselects the candidates, what is the point," asked Skillings, who was active two years ago in opposing the HSTA endorsement of Gov. Ben Cayetano.

"There is nothing wrong with the minds of teachers, we have all been to college and we know what we want," he said.

Asked yesterday if the union was still happy with Cayetano, Ginoza said she approves of his handling of funding for education, but the governor's calls for civil service reform and teacher accountability "has teachers upset."

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin