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Friday, June 12, 2009
June 12, 2009 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:10 PM :: 11165 Views

KSBE POWER: "Teacher Merit pay experiment worth a closer look

What's a fair way to measure a teacher's worth? That's the biggest problem with implementing a merit pay system for teachers. It's not the why — we all want to reward teachers who do a great job — but the how.

So it's intriguing to see Kamehameha Schools tackle the issue, with a high-profile experiment called Ka Pi'ina. As described by Advertiser reporter Loren Moreno on Monday, Ka Pi'ina would establish a program that would buck the traditional seniority-based pay scale in favor of one that rewards professional ambition and performance. The goal: helping students learn more by helping their teachers become better educators.

There are good reasons to hope for Ka Pi'ina's success. 

(This favorable rhetoric on a union bete-noir is what happens when $9B KSBE decides to act.  There is an even bigger prize here--vouchers.  A voucher system would make it possible to eliminate the cause for action of civil rights complaints against KS while also extending KS admissions to all Hawaiian children.)

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SB spots legal problem for newest version of Akaka Bill

In her testimony, Heriot argued the "the greatest irony" would be that native Hawaiians as defined in the bill could include, through intermarriage over the years, descendants of "those 19th-century white settlers (who) are the ones who wronged the 19th-century ethnic Hawaiians."

Those messy arguments should not have to be made in Congress or, more importantly, the courts. Instead, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs now suggests that the Akaka Bill's definition of native Hawaiian be pegged to 1778, the year that English explorer Captain James Cook became the first non-Hawaiian to set foot on the islands. That is among three new amendments to H.R. 2314 and S. 1011 that OHA is urging Hawaii's congressional delegation to support.

Haunani Apoliona, chairwoman of the OHA board of trustees, says the 1778 definition would conform more with the native American and Alaskan tribes, which have the sovereignty that Hawaiians now seek. Heinous as the overthrow was, citing it as the reason for granting sovereignty to indigenous Hawaiians could create a legal risk that should be avoided.

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UH economists revise their outlook and now do not expect recovery until 2011 or 2012

Flu and furloughs will further weaken Hawaii's struggling economy and cause income and jobs in 2009 to take their biggest plunge in 40 years and push recovery into 2011 or 2012, according to the latest quarterly update released today by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

Partially as a result of swine flu, which was upgraded to pandemic status yesterday, and the state fiscal crisis, UHERO expects the overall job count in 2009 to fall 2.9 percent, about half a percentage point greater decline than was anticipated in their annual forecast, which was released in March.

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Kaua‘i anti-Superferry group: Send us Gitmo detainees

Honolulu residents arriving on an inter-island ferry are a no-no, but 17 Islamist head-choppers?  Come on in!

The letter, sent by (anti-Superferry protester) Ed Coll on behalf of the Kaua‘i Alliance for Peace and Social Justice, asked Lingle, U.S. Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye and U.S. Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono to “invite the $200 million in federal money offered by the federal government to the Republic of Palau for accepting the innocent former detainees, and this money would supplement Hawai‘i’s current budget shortfall.”

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Mauians discuss plans for new global warming propaganda

KIHEI - About 30 Maui-ans got a sneak preview Wednesday of the launching of an international organization to collect research information about the risks of climate variability and get it into the hands of policymakers.

The formal introduction of the International Program on Climate Change and Variability Risks will come soon, probably in September. However, one of the co-founders, Vietnamese scientist Nguyen Huu Ninh, had a few hours free after three days of conferences at the Pacific Disaster Center, so Executive Director Ray Shirkhodai asked him to speak to as many people as could be collected on a few hours' notice.

The message is that the globe is warming, and 90 percent of the increase is due to human activities. He named his talk "Climate Change-gate: A Global Scandal."

"Only about 30 percent of the people (worldwide) have heard about climate change," he said, although he believes humans have only 10 or 15 years to take action before the change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.

RELATED: 2009 to be 'year without summer' for parts of Northern hemisphere 

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Eco regression: Wood-burning facility will meet all rules, say owners

Community opposition and procedural hoops have delayed the Hu Honua biomass energy plant, which the company's principals had originally hoped to start in late 2010.
Six months have been added to the timeline as Hu Honua waits for the federal Environmental Protection Agency to approve modification of the plant's existing air permit. Hawaii County has also informed the company it must do an environmental assessment to switch the old coal-burning plant over to biomass.  (Biomass is a fancy word for 'wood')

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New law protects manta rays

The law, now known as Act 92, came about after Laros, foundation scientific adviser Tim Clark, diving company employees and other manta ray enthusiasts began lobbying state legislators for protection for the animals several years ago. Rep. Denny Coffman, D-North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, introduced the most recent bill, which eventually passed through the state House and Senate. Gov. Linda Lingle signed the bill into law June 5.
Knowingly capturing or killing a manta ray is now a misdemeanor, with a $500 fine for the first offense, $2,000 fine for the second offense and $10,000 for the third and subsequent offenses. Administrative fines of up to $10,000 can also be levied for each manta ray captured or killed, and the state can seize any equipment used in committing the offense.

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Save Kailua Fireworks Group Seeks Support from the Community to Save 4th of July Celebration

A tradition in Kailua since 1948, the Annual 4th of July Fireworks display has been cancelled this year.

A community group formed less than two days ago is contacting businesses, organizations and individuals to support the long-time event attended by more than 10,000 people every year, for 60 years (it has only been missed once- in 2002 because of barge problems).

Click here to sign the petition:

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Kauai council secrecy: Bynum, Kawahara continue crusade

LIHU‘E — Two Kaua‘i County Council members want to know why the chair of the seven-member legislative body, Kaipo Asing, and the county clerk, Peter Nakamura, continue to stifle their requests.
After trying unsuccessfully to get the clerk to post meeting minutes online as county boards and commissions routinely do, or provide them their mail in a more timely and effective fashion, the pair decided this month to shed light on the problem.

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Mayor Kenoi signs budget

Mayor Billy Kenoi signed his first operating budget into law Wednesday afternoon, cutting Hawaii County spending for the first time since 2001.
The $387 million spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 is 4.1 percent lower than the budget Kenoi inherited when he took office last December.

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Japanese firms may get in on Guam military housing contracts

Key House lawmakers are weighing a measure that would give Japanese contractors the same access as American firms — in Hawai'i and elsewhere — to more than $2.5 billion in upcoming U.S. military construction projects on Guam.

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Hawaii-based Hoku Scientific (BIG Act 215/221 player) in financing crunch, posts loss

Hoku Scientific Inc. yesterday said cash problems could force it to close its doors or delay completing an Idaho-based polysilicon plant if it is unable to find more financing in the next year.

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