Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Year-round schools
are beneficial trend

Bullet The issue: More than half of Hawaii's schools will be on a year-round schedule during the coming school year.

Bullet Our view: The transition toward year-round schooling, especially multitrack schedules, is worthwhile in improving education.

THE need for children to take a three-month summer break from school so they could help their parents harvest the crop ended with the arrival of the industrial revolution, but habits are hard to break. Only in recent years have American public schools turned to year-round schooling. Fewer than half of Hawaii's schools will maintain traditional calendars in the coming school year, and the transition seems to be working.

Year-round does not mean year-long. All children have 184 instructional days, whether they attend schools with a traditional calendar or a year-round one, including the staggered, so-called multitrack schedules at Mililani Middle and Holomua Elementary schools.

The year-round school calendar remains somewhat controversial. Children must make choices about involvement in popular summer activities such as youth baseball, designed with the traditional school calendar in mind. Teachers can lose opportunities for mid-career education and training. And schoolrooms in the summer, without air conditioning, can be dreadfully hot.

Although family schedules can become more complicated, in most cases day-care and baby-sitting expenses are reduced. Extended family vacation trips become impossible, but all but the most extravagant excursions can be fit into the year-round school calendar's six-week summer break.

One of the most significant benefits is the elimination of the time needed at the beginning of a new traditional school year to refresh young minds about what they forgot over the long summer, especially in the areas of mathematics and science.

Multitrack schedules effectively ease overcrowding; under a four-track program, only three-fourths of the student body is in school at the same time. Those schedules are especially beneficial as long as parents with more than one child in school are allowed to have them assigned identical schedules.

More than 2 million students in 43 states have year-round programs. In Hawaii's coming school year, 130 of the state's 253 public schools will be on year-round schedules, 25 more than in the past year. As the state continues to struggle with a limited education budget, the trend toward year-round schedules, especially multitrack options, should continue.

Internet revenues

Bullet The issue: Revenues are soaring among companies selling Internet-related goods, but news and information Web sites experience losses.

Bullet Our view: Ways must be found to keep the Internet from evolving into a shopping mall devoid of ideas.

THE Internet is booming, but that does not assure financial success for even the most meritorious Web ventures. While revenues from digital orders for goods and services keep rising, providers of news and information have yet to find a way to make a profit online. Many efforts to do so are likely to fail before cyberspace becomes a secure marketplace of ideas.

Internet-related jobs doubled last year to 2.5 million, according to a study by Internet equipment provider Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif. The industry generated $524 billion in revenue in 1999, up from $322 billion in the previous year. Researchers predict the Internet economy could top $1 trillion by early next year.

The estimate comes from an examination of 3,000 U.S. companies that generate at least part of their revenue from selling goods online, creating hardware or software, or supporting Internet transactions.

Researchers say there are 50,000 such companies. The biggest increase was in e-commerce, where revenue jumped 72 percent, from $99.8 billion in 1998 to $171.4 billion last year.

That provides little comfort for the journalists at, an online news company that gained high respect among journalists for its coverage of crime and the justice system. The company was forced this week to fire its entire staff of 140 because it had run out of money.

Marshall Davidson, chief executive of, said the recent severe downturn in technology stocks drastically lowered the value of many Internet companies, so was unable to raise capital for its third round of financing. and, Internet-based news and commentary sites, also have suffered steep declines in recent months.

"If they are having trouble, you'd have to say that others who are coming up for new rounds of financing may face similar problems," said Adam Clayton Powell III, vice president of Freedom Forum, a media think tank in Virginia. "You have to ask whether this is the beginning of the shakeout."

The problem poses no immediate crisis for news and information sites operated by traditional media. Most newspapers, including the Star-Bulletin, have established an Internet presence but none is known to be turning a profit online. They consider the losses to be an investment.

An Internet news site may be a field of dreams capable of attracting millions, but ways of finding revenue must be found to sustain it. Otherwise, the Internet could turn into nothing more than a digital department store.

Published by Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership

Rupert E. Phillips, CEO

John M. Flanagan, Editor & Publisher

David Shapiro, Managing Editor

Diane Yukihiro Chang, Senior Editor & Editorial Page Editor

Frank Bridgewater & Michael Rovner, Assistant Managing Editors

A.A. Smyser, Contributing Editor

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

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin