SB 2436

The Legislature would raid special funds to cover the current budget shortfall. Harriet submitted testimony in opposition.

To: Senate and House Education and Finance Committees
From: Malcolm Kirkpatrick
In re: SB 2436

Please DO NOT support SB 2436. According to Chapter 431:
(h) Moneys in the hurricane reserve trust fund or in trust or custodial accounts, created for the benefit of the fund's secured parties, shall be expended by the Hawaii hurricane relief fund or its authorized designee and used solely for the purposes of this chapter.
The legislature would now violate this provision because of the inability of the Hawaii DOE, public-sector organizations, and this legislature to prioritize expenses.

The Legislature placed the Hurricane Relief Fund off limits to raids by public sector workers for good reason. Whether taxpayers will benefit from an exception to this policy depends on two factors:
1) the cause of the current budget deficit and
2) the use which the administration will make of the funds deducted from the Hurricane Relief Fund.

1) If normal business cycles produced the current downturn in tax receipts, we may expect that receipts will recover and temporary resort to special funds will do no harm. If, however, a parasitic public sector has weakened commercial activity, subsidizing and enhancing that parasitism will make the problem worse.
2) The failure of the DOE and this legislature to limit demands on taxpayers has generated a bureaucracy which, in the 2006-2007 fiscal year, reported total revenues over $2.9 billion.

The current decline in commercial activity, tax revenues, and State outlays reflects the inability of government decision-makers at all levels to resist increasing demands by recipients of the tax-generated revenue stream. Andre Marou suggested this etymology for the word "politics": "poly" from the Greek for "many" and "ticks" which are blood-sucking insects.

SB 2436 states:
...the legislature finds that providing a quality education for Hawaii's students is an overriding state priority with far-reaching effects on the prosperity, health, and growth of local communities and that ensuring adequate resources for education reflects a commitment and investment toward that priority.
How much money is enough? The DOE reported budget figures as follows:

Current dollars...................................Inflation-adjusted (2007)
Total revenues of a= $2,985,593,000
Total expenditures of b=$2,199,604,000
Current expenditures of c=$2,061,560,000
Enrollment of d=180,728.

By comparison
Current dollars....................................Inflation-adjusted (2007)
Total revenues of e=$1,213,729,000...............$1,562,471,513
Total expenditures of f=$1,241,375,000...........$1,598,061,078
Current expenditures of g=$1,117,671,000.........$1,438,813,028
Enrollment of h=187,653

The Hawaii Department of Educaton supplies data to the US Census Bureau. See
"Public School Finance Data" http://www.census.gov/govs/school/
and the inflation calculator http://www.westegg.com/inflation/

Current 2007 dollars...........................Inflation-adjusted (2007)

Current 1997 dollars...........................Inflation-adjusted (2007)

The Hawaii DOE spends more, per pupil, than the US average, and more than any other country. Taxpayers get very little for this money and nothing for the increase between 1997 and 2007.

The legislature should look to reduce costs before it raises taxes or raids special funds. The legislature could reduce the cost to taxpayers of the Hawaii DOE by modifying compulsory attendance statutes. Albert Einstein opposed compulsory attendance at school. Gandhi opposed compulsory attendance at school Thomas Edison was homeschooled. Cyrus McCormick was homeschooled. Bertrand Russell was homeschooled. The great violinist Yehudi Menuhin was homeschooled. The first woman to receive an MD degree in the US, Mary Putnam Jacobi, was homeschooled until medical school. It does not take 12 years at $11,000 or even $7,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Hiram Maxim left school at 13 and apprenticed. Benjamin Franklin was homeschooled to age 12, attended school for two years, then apprenticed. The Wright brothers were high school dropouts.

The Hawaii DOE imposes costs beyond its $2.5 billion+ budget. The cost of school includes the opportunity cost to students of the time they spend in school. This cost appears as reduced lifetime earnings, reduced longevity, losses due to crime, and the cost of prison for the poor kids whose lives we trash. Juvenile arrests fall when school is not in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma fall when school is not in session.

Clive Harber
"Schooling as Violence"
Educatioinal Review p. 10, V. 54, #1.
...It is almost certainly more damaging for children to be in school than to out of it. Children whose days are spent herding animals rather than sitting in a clasroom at least develop skills of problem solving and independence while the supposedly luckier ones in school are stunted in their mental, physical, and emotional development by being rendered pasive, and by having to spend hours each day in a crowded classroom under the control of an adult who punishes them for any normal level of activity such as moving or speaking.
Clive Harber
"Schooling as Violence"
Educatioinal Review, p. 9 V. 54, #1.
Furthermore, according to a report for UNESCO, cited in Esteve (2000), the increasing level of pupil-teacher and pupil-pupil violence in classrooms is directly connected with compulsory schooling. The report argues that institutional violence against pupils who are obliged to attend daily at an educational centre until 16 or 18 years of age increases the frustration of these students to a level where they externalise it.
Roland Meighan
"Home-based Education Effectiveness Research and Some of its Implications"
Educational Review, Vol. 47, No.3, 1995.
The issue of social skills. One edition of Home School Researcher, Volume 8, Number 3, contains two research reports on the issue of social skills. The first finding of the study by Larry Shyers (1992) was that home-schooled students received significantly lower problem behavior scores than schooled children. His next finding was that home- schooled children are socially well adjusted, but schooled children are not so well adjusted. Shyers concludes that we are asking the wrong question when we ask about the social adjustment of home-schooled children. The real question is why is the social adjustment of schooled children of such poor quality?
The second study, by Thomas Smedley (1992), used different test instruments but comes to the same conclusion, that home-educated children are more mature and better socialized than those attending school. ...p. 277
So-called 'school phobia' is actually more likely to be a sign of mental health, whereas school dependancy is a largely unrecognized mental health problem....p.281
Please do not support this bill.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify.

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