Furlough Friday Fiasco

Harriet sent this...

To: Honolulu Star-Bulletin
From: Malcolm Kirkpatrick
In re: Furlough Friday

Various Board of Education members, DOE administrators, HSTA officers, and writers of letters to the editor have criticized Governor Lingle for her role in the Furlough Friday fiasco. The Governor's critics indict the wrong party. State law requires that the Governor balance the State budget. The Hawaii Constitution gives the Governor no role in setting priorities for the DOE. The Governor acted responsibly in mandating cuts to the DOE budget, given that inflation-adjusted (2008 dollars) per pupil revenues have gone from $8,943 in 1991 to $17,626 in 2006 (the last year for which the US DOE has complete figures) and inflation-adjusted (2007 dollars) per pupil current expenditures have gone from $7,152 in 1990 to $11,024 in 2006, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Dilapidated buildings and obsolete textbooks are not due to insufficient taxpayer generosity. The DOE administration has created numerous out-of-classroom positions which raise costs and add nothing to student performance. Past legislatures approved DOE budget requests and mandated numerous wasteful programs within the DOE. We know from the Federal investigation of the DOT Airport Division contracting scandal how insiders rigged the competitive bid process. After Linda Lingle became Governor, the Legislature passed Act 51, which transferred oversight of DOE construction contracts from the Department of Accounting and General Services to the DOE. Last time I looked (15 years ago) the State paid (on average) over $200,000 per room to build classroom buildings.

Despite substantial budget increases over the years, student performance, as measured by standardized tests, has barely budged. While the DOE spends more, per pupil, than the US average (and more than every country on the planet), DOE performance remains in the national cellar. By some measures we are dead last. The evidence of waste and fraud is in the numbers. Governor Lingle used her only Constitutional authority, the budget axe, and told the DOE administration and the HSTA to find the waste. Instead of cutting fat, however, they cut muscle, and so enlisted desperate parents in their predation upon taxpayers.

It does not take 12 years at $11,000 (or $17,000) per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. State (government, generally) provision of History, Economics, Civics, or other "social studies" instruction is a threat to democracy, just as State operation of news media would be (is, in totalitarian countries). What we in Hawaii call "the public school system" originated in missionary evangelism and anti-Catholic bigotry. The government school system has become a make-work program for dues-paying members of the NEA/AFSCME cartel, a source of padded construction, supply, and personal service contracts for politically connected insiders, and a venue for State-worshipful indoctrination.

While students, parents, real classroom teachers, and taxpayers would gain from a competitive market in education services, this legislature will not address deep-seated institutional flaws in Hawaii's State-monopoly school system. Caring parents will homeschool. This does not require that families sacrifice an income; nothing n Hawaii Revised Statutes requires that homeschool instruction occur between 8 a.m and 2:30 p.m.

What odds they print it?

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