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By In Hawaii

Making Sense Of Hawaii’s Lockdowns

The public response to the ongoing lockdowns has been visceral, eliciting reactions ranging from knee slaps and head scratches to shaking fists and facepalms. Wherever you fall on that anatomical spectrum, you’re right.

At first glance, the parameters are hard to wrap your head around. Businesses deemed nonessential will remain closed, though “nonessential” has become increasingly relative as unemployment soars and locally-owned businesses continue to close for good. Public spaces like parks, beaches and trails will reopen, but only for individual use, despite any evidence of outbreaks occurring in outdoor spaces.

Couples who are around each other in their homes anyway? Too risky! Kids cooped up on computers all day for school? Too bad! And if you want to go on a hike, you must ignore the most common-sense rule of being in nature and go it alone – for safety’s sake…

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By In education, Hawaii

This Troubling Distance Learning Program Tells Us A Lot About The DOE

The more we learn about Acellus, the more flagrant and alarming its real mystery becomes.

What we know about the Department of Education’s primary distance learning curriculum is not great. There’s the inappropriate content that spans several isms, the inexplicable use of “gun” to teach phonics – did Gordy Gorilla retire? – and lessons so bowdlerized their only educational value would be in a “spot the error” exercise.

A simple Google search raises a legion of red flags about the program’s creator Roger Billings. He either left or was excommunicated from the Mormon church over his belief that “it was the will of God that men should have more than one wife.” Afterward, he founded his own religious sect – The Church of Jesus Christ in Zion – in which he was the “patriarch and prophet…”

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By In education, Hawaii

Getting the hang of distance learning

As I was leaving school last Friday – the final day of work before distance learning began – I asked the teacher in the classroom next to mine how she felt about classes starting on Monday.

“It’ll be a disaster!” she said through her mask, an audible smile in her voice.

I was heartened by her response. I felt the same kind of conflicted: somewhere between acceptance and resignation, excited to meet my students but still not quite sure if I was adequately prepared to teach in a purely digital setting…

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By In education, Hawaii

School Leaders Have Tough Decisions To Make. It’s Time To Quit Waffling

I do not envy Gov. David Ige or Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. They are faced with an immense decision that will ripple throughout the islands, from teachers and parents and students to their friends and families and beyond. It’s a tremendous responsibility, and there will always be backlash, no matter what the decision is. That’s leadership 101, though: you can never make everyone happy.

Yet it is precisely that understanding that makes the current ineptitude and indecision of our leaders so maddening.

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By In Hawaii

The problem with unaccountable pseudo-journalists

Over the weekend, popular local Instagram account hohungryhungryhawaiian posted a petition to “end mandatory masks in Hawaii” with the caption “DM me if you need the link. #endmaskwearing.”

The post was quickly deleted after the comment section erupted in arguments, but not before a large chunk of the account’s 217,000-plus followers saw what looked like an endorsement of America’s whiniest, most embarrassing response to a global pandemic that has killed 160,000 Americans and 700,000 people worldwide.

The next day, hohungryhungryhawaiian posted a picture – no caption – from Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center about why people should wear masks. “Too much backlash ah,” one commenter said, to which HHHH responded, “just posting all sides.”

Numerous similar comments were met with the same response: HHHH was just playing it down the middle, presenting both sides of a controversial issue.

Such a response, to be sure, is toweringly stupid, but also unfortunately commonplace…

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