Grassroot Perspective: Feeding the Machine, the Akaka Bill Rises Yet Again, and More

This article was originally published here on Hawaii Reporter. Scanning the week’s national news, views and clues with you and yours in mind Quote of the Week: “The more laws, the less justice.”—Cicero Each week, we’ll be monitoring the web to find the most interesting, challenging, or important items for those who are concerned about liberty, accountability, and big government.  Here are some of the highlights from the past week: Feeding the Machine Hawaii is no stranger to the quandary of the public employee union versus the taxpayer—except inasmuch as we (just like everyone else) tend to forget about that connection.  When it comes to the occasional conflicts between vital public servants like teachers or police and the government, it’s not hard for those workers to gain our support—when all’s said and done, who is going to oppose better schools or crime prevention?  Especially when the “antagonist” is the huge, faceless, and frustrating “government”? What we fail to understand is the true dynamic at work here.  A dynamic that is wonderfully illustrated by this short video.  Called “The Machine,” this short film demonstrates that the relationship between public sector unions, politicians, government, and public sector employees is precisely that—a moneymaking machine built on the backs of taxpayers.  And, in the case of teachers unions, one that has not seen much of the education improvements continually promised us in each new liberal application of our tax dollars.  And yet we continue to feed that machine, oblivious to the fact that supporting teachers is not the same as supporting teachers unions, no matter what the millions of dollars in marketing and...

Oh Me, Oh My, Why Can They Not Try?

by Dick Rowland The lead editorial in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on Sunday 2/19/12 “Teacher testing should be DOE responsibility” sure did, as usual when government education is the subject, miss the mark. First, it talked about “accountability” and how everyone wants that but that it would be “more easily achievable if only there could be an agreement on how people are to be held to account, and by whom”. The definition of accountability in my dictionary says that it relates to being “answerable, liable, and chargeable”. As you might expect, the editorial then abandons accountability and reverts to the milder “responsibility” where liability and chargeability are left at the side of the road. In short, they invite inadequate human behavior by eliminating real personal penalty for poor performance or reward for excellent work and results. What is wrong here? Well, first, ask yourself some questions: “In your experience as a youth , as a parent, or both; who took the most intense interest in the child’s needs, desires, mistakes and overall performance in the process of developing him or her into a responsible, productive adult? “Who held themselves accountable and in the process, kept the child accountable? Who does society hold responsible? The answer, dear reader, is, in every case, the PARENT. It is not the teacher, the principal, the DOE or the Governor. None of those love, cherish, nourish, protect, enhance, correct, support and deeply know the child as does the parent. We are thus led, logically and irrevocably, to the conviction that the parent should have a commanding role. Yet, the most revealing fact about the Star-Bulletin...

Is HSTA Teaching Our Children?

The Hawaii Department of Education, the Board of Education, and the Governor’s Office worked together to hammer out an agreement in late September to help relieve the state budget deficit. In the end, the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) agreed to an 8 percent pay cut. Under the new two-year contract, 10-month employees are subjected to 17 furlough days and year-round employees to 21 furlough days. While all of us value Hawaii teachers and the sacrifice they bear, here’s a question that many have not considered- does the HSTA really represent teachers? It may come as a surprise, but not all members of HSTA are actually classroom teachers. When asked to present the number of student-facing teachers versus those with positions that are not teaching, the DOE did not provide the numbers. The DOE and HSTA must explain the difference between the two and reveal how many teachers actually instruct our children. Everyone loves teachers, but only the “teaching”...