By In Hawaii

The DOE Is Looking In The Wrong Places To Trim The Fat

One aspect of life in Hawaii that has remained unchanged through the pandemic is the looming threat of budget cuts in education. This is not for no reason: education gobbles up a substantial chunk of the state budget, consistently comprising one of the three largest government expenses in the state every year. It’s sensible, then, to look to the Department of Education for fat to trim in fiscally perilous circumstances.

This time around, however, there’s a new wrinkle to the discussion: pay differentials for Hawaiian language teachers, special education teachers, and teachers who work in remote school districts.

These additional salary bumps range anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 per year, and went into effect in January 2020 — right before the pandemic hit.

In a Feb. 9 letter to school leaders, DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto wrote that these pay differentials have “produced the desired and intended effect of lowering vacancy and retention rates for these high-need areas,” but we “can no longer afford,” them so there is “no choice but to discontinue these shortage differential payouts.”

Trying times call for re-evaluation, and it’s reasonable to scrutinize these pay differentials. If expenses can’t be justified, then perhaps they deserve to be on the chopping block.

But it’s crude analysis to think they are merely a function of some rudimentary supply-and-demand bargain. That’s not entirely untrue, but it is incomplete. The real question is why these are hard positions to fill in the first place, and why they require additional incentive…

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By In Hawaii

The Closure Of Small Private Schools Is A Blow For Education In Hawaii

Learning about the imminent closure of St. Ann School was like meeting a long-lost cousin for the first time in hospice care. I had never heard of St. Ann – let alone its storied history dating back to King Kamehameha III – but was saddened nonetheless to hear that this semester will be its last.

I feel a kindred connection with the small private schools of Hawaii. There are schools like St. Ann scattered across the islands, most of which are unknown to most people. I attended a few of them, including Lutheran High School, which closed for good in 2016 due to low enrollment…

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By In Hawaii, Mixed Martial Arts

Max Holloway And Hawaii’s Brain Drain

…Holloway is one of the finest fighters in the sport today, and will likely go down as one of the all-time greats when it’s all said and done. Fight fans love him because he’s as exciting as he is excellent, and Hawaii loves him because we love anyone from here who achieves some form of greatness.

Max is special, though. Unlike virtually every other great Hawaii athlete in any sport, he’s never left home. His amateur career and his first four professional fights all took place in local promotions, and throughout his UFC career he’s continued to live and train in Hawaii. His success is a compelling rebuttal to the idea that we need to leave Hawaii to “make it…”

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

A Motion for Meritocracy

Dustin Poirier at the UFC 257 post-fight press conference explained his status in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division: “I lost to Khabib [Nurmagomedov], then I came out and put on a ‘Fight of the Year’ for you guys and got my hand raised against a Top 5 opponent after that. Then I come in here, Khabib doesn’t want to come back and I knock out one of the biggest fights you can get. Khabib reiterates he doesn’t want to fight anymore. Dude, I’m the champ.”

He has since doubled-down on this assertion, and it’s hard to argue with his point. Since 2017, Poirier has gone 7-1-1 in one of the sport’s toughest divisions. His only loss was against an all-time great in Nurmagomedov, and included in those seven wins are victories over four former UFC champions and a title contender. If Nurmagomedov is in fact done—and it looks like he is—Poirier has done more than anyone to lay claim to the division…

Read more at Sherdog

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By In Hawaii

What Hawaii Can Learn From The Trump Years

The insurrection attempt on Jan. 6 was a fitting end to one of the most ignominious presidencies in American history. It was definitively Trumpian: an act of amorphous grievance, howling selfishness and simian aesthetics, its very oafishness concealing just how dangerous it really was. It was Trump’s presidential term in a microcosm.

Shocking as it was, it was also in many ways predictable. Trump has led a public life even before he was the president, and he has demonstrated on innumerable occasions that if he loses anything, big or small, the only possible explanation he can accept is that he was cheated out of a rightful win.

He did this when he lost the 2016 Iowa Caucus to Ted Cruz, claiming Cruz “stole” the win through fraud. He did the same thing in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, saying he’ll only accept the results if he wins and alleging “large scale voter fraud” before ballots had been cast. He even did it after he won the 2016 election, claiming he only lost the popular vote because of millions of illegal votes.

There was no evidence for any of these allegations. Sound familiar?

Trump is not the first bad president, but he is a uniquely bad one in that he told us who he was and verified it in plain sight over and over again, and still millions of people consciously refused to see it. Looking back at his disastrous time in office, it becomes abundantly clear that his failures stemmed not just from bad policy, but from poor judgment and lack of moral character.

There are lessons here for Hawaii…

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