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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

For Teachers, No Happy Holidays

I’ve come to the conclusion that the holidays are for celebrating the good things in life and not protesting government contracts.

Seeing the parents, teachers and students on the sidewalk carrying signs to support the teachers is heartbreaking.

I was in favor of trying an appointed Board of Education after so many years with an elected board, but now I’m having second thoughts. It seems like the teachers union is helpless. It has not been able to get its lawsuit any action, the board seems preoccupied with other matters, and courts have put the whole matter of the constitutionality of state collective bargaining law on hold. The Hawaii State Teachers Association doesn’t seem to have any remedies for the situation its members are in.

This is all starting to make sense. The governor has no intention of giving in to the teachers’ demand for a new contract. Why should he? He’s more than the governor of the state, he’s also its most powerful lobbyist. He appoints the judges who will ultimately make decisions on his battles with the unions; he has appointed the school board that will rule on their demands. If the HSTA were to strike, it would play right into the governor’s hand, because it would in the short term save the state money and give Hawaii some much-needed extra cash. So the teachers are suffering with the Democrats’ oldest weapon: Delay is a permanent form of denial.

Eventually, the public will get totally upset and lose interest in the confrontation, the membership will start losing confidence in the union’s leadership, and the teachers’ morale will sink to an all-time low. That will lead to students being left to fend for themselves and parents will be left to educate their own children. Some will go to homeschooling, and others who can afford to will explore enrolling their children in private schools. And, finally, the quality of education and years of improvement will sink back into a sea of petty politics.

Isn’t it interesting how excited the public became with internal workings of the University of Hawaii and its “Wonder Blunder,” and how disinterested they are in the education of public school students and the quality of teacher treatment and development?

Holidays, yes. But for teachers, happy? No.

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