Opt Out of Common Core Test?
Dear Editor, March 24, 2015
My son is 16 years old and I called his school to find out how to opt him out of taking the Common Core 'Smarter Balanced' SBAC test. I was told by several DOE educators and his school administration that it was possible. I wrote a letter to the school and went the extra step by filling out a legal form that I obtained from the Thomas More Law Center since no opt out form exists here. The school councilor assured me that the letter was sufficient.
Unfortunately, I just received a phone call from the school telling me that a statewide principals' meeting was just held and they were given the directive that no student was allowed to opt out of the test. I find it very interesting that this directive just came down and that it took the principal and councilor completely by surprise. The councilor told me that he is very disappointed by the directive.
After receiving assurance that not taking the test wouldn't affect his graduating from school, I decided that my son will "be ill" on the day of the test.
Pearl City, Oahu
* * * * *
Takai: TRICARE is Gay
Dear Editor, March 13, 2015
I recently used a service on the Military Officers Association of America website to urge Rep Mark Takai to support the full funding of the TRICARE military health insurance program, but what I received in reply was “an understanding of my concerns with respect LGBT equality”.
A close friend wrote Takai's office to express concern about the Congressional boycott of Netanyahu's speech, she received the exact same "LGBT" reply, and another friend received the exact same response when he wrote Mr. Takai’s office concerning the recusal of the Supreme Court Justices who have already ruled on the same-sex marriage issue.
It is beyond me how anyone could confuse these three separate issues. I guess I should be grateful that at least I received a timely non-reply.
* * * * *
Agony and Ivory
Dear Editor, March 8, 2015
The Ivory Bill HB837HD2 is poorly written and would not save a single elephant or rhino.
A State registry with DLNR for every piece of ivory (regardless of species) would have to be registered before you sell it or even donate to a charity fundraiser.
Mammoths and mastodon are extinct animals.
The ‘facts’ that have been provided to the State of Hawaii Legislature are not based on concrete facts.
Where have the ivory seizures in Hawaii happened? Waikiki? Airport TSA? United States Customs?
Humane Society International wants all ivory banned.
Identification can be done on the various species with ivory, tusks, teeth from modern "fresh" ivory.
A State Registry is going to ask you for papers and verification as to how long, and where did it come from?
This proposed bill will affect cultural items whether Hawaiian, Alaskan or from other states or countries.
I will be teaching a class on April 12, entitled "AGONY AND IVORY". It will be held at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Linekona Building from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. Anyone can sign up for the class on the Honolulu Museum website.
LINK >>> Agony and Ivory Sign Up
Carats & Karats Fine Jewelry
* * * * *
Rail Timeout Honolulu!
Dear Editor, March 1, 2015
After eight years, the rail project is failing.
With only two miles and no stations constructed, and having chosen one of the most remote and least reliable train manufacturers - Ansaldo, we are now told that the remaining available funds are insufficient to finish the rail project.
The city wants taxpayers to come up with the additional billions that would be required to finish rail. The only question is whether to extend the excise tax surcharge, which is already costing a typical family $800 per year, or raise property taxes.
In light of the above, Council members and Legislators need to take a timeout and take a hard look at where we are and how we got here.
Accordingly, we are asking our elected representatives to demand accountability and transparency on the following topics before considering any further taxes or loans.
- Let’s see an annual audit of all rail moneys spent thus far starting in 2007 through 2014.
- Let’s see contractor bids on the remaining 10 miles of the project so we know the price of the project in 2015 dollars.
- Let’s see a clear statement of facts about the project’s projected impact on the current level of traffic congestion.
- Let’s see a clear statement of exactly how the city will force thousands of bus riders daily to transfer to rail. Let’s be clear on the number of new residents needed in the TOD areas to meet the current projected rail ridership.
- Let’s see a clear-headed analysis of less expensive viable alternatives, such as bus rapid transit on managed lanes.