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A Long Or Short School Year?

Former Gov. Linda Lingle must be doing backflips over the Legislature’s decision to shorten the school year after she was blamed for – that’s right, shortening the school year.

It’s history now, but back then, you may remember, there was quite a battle of words about the state Department of Education’s decision to furlough teachers. Lawmakers, with the support of some lazy journalism, did an effective job of getting the public to believe that Lingle had furloughed the teachers.

Then, to put an exclamation point on their deceptive partisanship, the politicians worked with the parents’ group to prove how much they cared about the students by introducing legislation to lengthen the school year.

This was done to contrast with what they told the public Lingle had done to “shorten” the school year. It’s that bill passed back then to lengthen the school year they now are talking about repealing.

Lingle must be speechless.

When you come right down to it, the length of the school year has to be decided by some kind of collective bargaining agreement crafted by Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA). It was true back then and probably more true now.

With the body of knowledge expanding every year, the length of the school year is becoming more critical for students. It might not seem like a lot of time, but the difference between 160 and 180 days is a lot of extra knowledge to digest.

I’m sure our appointed Board of Education has its own policies dealing with the school year, and it probably doesn’t want HSTA to make it a collective bargaining issue.

Times have changed, but chances are Lingle hasn’t forgotten how upset she was over the accusation that she had furloughed the teachers to shorten the school year.

All this proves that, if you don’t like a piece of legislation moving through Legislature, just relax. After another gubernatorial election, shorter can become longer once again.

It all depends on who gets elected this time around.