I just heard about the Hawaiian public schools losing 17 days this school year so the teachers can keep their jobs and take the needed 8% pay cut to stay within their reduced budget. I think I'm with the Superintendent in saying that if you're really upset that "these kids are losing out on so much school" and "how can they do this when the kids are already so far behind in the nation's school system" - put your money where your mouth is. If school is that critical for students - PAY FOR IT. Having grown up in a house with two public school teachers as parents, I know that everyone thinks they are an expert on education. I am not saying that I have any idea on how to improve education because I am not in that industry, nor do I have any idea on how to pay for a better education system, but I do know that you can't whine about school being so critical to our kids and then do nothing when the budget for it is cut. I do not envy the state government in trying to trim their budgets, but it will be interesting to see if this changes some of the national debate on education.
Obama has talked about extending the school year because our students need more classroom time to learn all that they need to know. And like everything else, the concept sounds good on paper, but you've got to pay for it somehow. Our local school district offers seven period days for their secondary students when the state only pays for five. They can offer the extra classes for students because luckily this area can afford to step up and pay for it. Not everyone is so lucky, but that doesn't mean it's not important to try.
I think the aftermath of what happens in Hawaii will be interesting to watch. It's like when you give your kids choices - they made the choice to reduce the school year - let's see how passionate this makes people and see if they're really willing to put their wallet where their mouth is.