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Partisanship drives call for DOE reform

Hawaii Democrats controlled by the public employee unions are at it again. In 2002, they ignored the will of their own party by favoring Mazie Hirono over Ed Case and lost the governorship.

In 2003, union-controlled Democrats overturned bi-partisan binding arbitration reform originally signed into law by their own Governor Cayetano.

This year union-controlled Democrats think they can win the education reform battle by placing local-girl-made-good Schools Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto before the public to lead their fight ("DOE chief calls for reform," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 28).

Did it ever occur to the public employee unions and the lawmakers they control that one reason Hamamoto is so popular is because she has remained decidedly neutral until now? The public should demand her resignation after her unprecedented speech attacking Governor Lingle's plans for education reform.

Andre LeMond

It's time to break up dysfunctional DOE

The Star-Bulletin deserves kudos for urging lawmakers to back the governor and put the fate of the state Department of Education in the hands of the voters. ("Put proposal to revamp school system to voters," Editorial, Jan. 27).

The kids (and their teachers) have for too long suffered a witches' brew of chaos, a heartless cauldron brimming with bureaucratic dysfunction and arrogant disdain in which careers flourish because no one is ever held accountable for anything. The DOE refuses to define an academic curriculum, has no measurable performance standards aligned to curriculum and will not even promulgate a common grading scale. The DOE reacts like a scalded cat in its haste to deflect criticism by pointing the finger of public blame at "failing" schools, teachers and children when annual test scores remain in the tank.

Is this humbug good enough for the bright, capable children who populate our classrooms? Is it worth $1.9 billion a year to float the careers of bureaucrats who refuse to be held accountable for results?

Let the people decide!

Thomas E. Stuart
Public school teacher
Kapaau, Hawaii

Beware of creating too many boards

As a dual resident of both California and Hawaii, I find it ironic that Governor Lingle is proposing to decentralize the public school system as the answer to improve the educational system.

California suffers from the opposite problem, which is too many school districts where services overlap and huge bureaucracies exist. Let us be perfectly clear: In both states, the funding for education is the very top priority among politicians. However, there are always cries for more money and complaints that funds do not reach the students and staff.

If Hawaii tries the localized route, it also should realize that funding remains finite and excess public input results in nothing being accomplished. An equilibrium between Governor Lingle and the Democratic leadership's position of incremental infusion on local control will be needed. As House Speaker Calvin Say has mentioned, implementation of a new school system should avoid more bureaucratic funding.

Gaylen Chang

Our own fears are the real WMDs

I read with mixed feelings the articles confirming the absences of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Since the only true weapon of mass destruction is fear, both Saddam Hussein and President Bush could both be considered master architects of fear.

There is no blame or judgment here, only an observation.

I also would ask the media to contemplate their own role in the manufacturing of these so-called weapons of mass destruction. The only defense against a presumed weapon of mass destruction is to look into our own hearts and minds and see what it is that we are afraid of. In this act of inquiry, we disarm the enemy within and set ourselves and our world free.

Lauri Clegg

Bush's top advisers were pushing for war

Now that even David Kay finds no weapons of mass destruction, why is our march to war suddenly being blamed on intelligence failures? I don't recall anyone in the intelligence community telling us that we should attack Iraq.

And why is it that millions of Americans and many more millions around the world were not fooled by the alleged faulty intelligence? We do know that the war was planned during the '90s by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and colleagues as part of their Project for the New American Century.

The plan was an object of ridicule until they got two things that they needed: a compliant president and the horrible terrorist attack on 9/11.

Rather than make a scapegoat out of George Tenet, why not go after the real culprits?

William Bailey




Can you design a quarter that represents Hawaii??

Some states have issued collectible quarters that commemorate their entry into the union. The front of the coin looks the same but the eagle on the back has been replaced by something that represents that state. For example, Georgia's quarter has a peach on it. If you could design Hawaii's quarter, what would it look like?

Send your ideas and solutions by Feb. 17 to:

Or mail them to:
c/o Nancy Christenson
500 Ala Moana
7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

c/o Nancy Christenson


How to write us

The Star-Bulletin welcomes letters that are crisp and to the point (150 to 200 words). The Star-Bulletin reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length. Please direct comments to the issues; personal attacks will not be published. Letters must be signed and include a daytime telephone number.

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Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210, Honolulu, HI 96813

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