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Monday, August 31, 2015
August 31, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:32 PM :: 2721 Views

Manufacturing a (Tax) Problem

Honolulu: Mayor Caldwell Gives up $575,000 to aid Gun Manufacturers

Court: Removal of Protest Signs OK After City Finally Figures out how to Seize Property

DOE has no plan to boost students' college-readiness

SA: ACT scores recently released show one thing across the board: The overwhelming majority of the state's public school students are not college-ready.

And while not all students are bound for college after graduation, the lackluster showing is a wake-up call for the state Department of Education -- and for that matter, Gov. David Ige, whose education message has been to reduce top-down management and hand over more fiscal control to school-level administrators.

While public-school juniors' 17.5 ACT composite score improved slightly over last year, it trailed the national average of 21 out of a possible 36. Let's do the math, shall we? ...

one cannot discount or dismiss the ACT's jarring results. Of the 10,304 Hawaii public school students who took the ACT last year, only 39 percent met the college-ready benchmark in English, compared with 64 percent nationally. Meanwhile, just 24 percent met the reading benchmark score, compared to 44 percent nationally.

Dismally, in math, 22 percent of students hit the benchmark score, compared to 43 percent nationally. Seventeen percent hit the science benchmark, compared with 37 percent nationally.

The DOE in 2014 began requiring all public school juniors to take the college entrance exam to help assess college-and-career readiness. In fairness, a little more than a dozen state school systems actually require all students to take the exam. In other words, the ACT in most states is taken voluntarily by students who are likely college-bound.

Even so, it's a sad statement when only 10 percent of Hawaii's public school students met all four benchmarks....

read ... DOE needs plan to boost students' college-readiness

UH Defers Maintenance seeking $50M Grift to Contractors

SA: ...Dingy hallways and classrooms. Stained walls and floors. Tattered furniture. Broken window air-conditioning units. Faulty refrigeration equipment. (Manufacture a crisis by not keeping the place clean and skipping basic maintenance.)

Not the ideal setting for science research and teaching, but that’s how University of Hawaii officials described aging Snyder Hall, which houses UH-Manoa’s Microbiology Department, in a recent memo seeking approval (Cash in baby!) to replace the 53-year-old building with a new facility elsewhere on campus.

Despite (Not 'despite', 'Because of') ostensibly being near the top of UH’s capital improvements priority list for a decade, officials acknowledge the building, one of the oldest on the 103-year-old campus, hasn’t had any meaningful upgrades since it was built. One regent said the building’s been in a “sordid state” for years.

“Built in 1962, Snyder Hall has not undergone any significant rehabilitation or upgrade in the past 53 years. This has resulted in an important science research, classroom, and office facility that is in a severe state of disrepair and in dire need of modernization,” Stephen Meder, Manoa’s assistant vice chancellor for planning and facilities, wrote in a memo to the Board of Regents seeking approval of a $50 million design-build contract for the project. ($50M payoff to a contractor for suffering thru years of dirt.)

read ... Applied Microbiology

Star-Adv to Feds: We Built America's Largest Homeless Tent City--Where's Our Prize Money?

SA: ...The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs has identified property it owns in Kakaako Makai, including the land under the Next Step Shelter, that could house all of the homeless in Kakaako, including families.

OHA has a right to expect a fair return for use of its land — it has a fiduciary duty to manage its assets responsibly for the benefit of Native Hawaiians. But as many of the Kakaako homeless are Native Hawaiian, OHA should be flexible in what terms it will accept. The cost of using the land should be shared —— by city and state taxpayers, to be sure, but also by private landowners and, more important, by the federal government.

While the city and, belatedly, the state, are leading the charge on homelessness, it should be remembered that the governor's leadership team includes the four members of Hawaii's congressional delegation. Our leaders in Washington, working with their local partners, will need to continue to identify and push for more federal funds that can be used to expand shelter space and affordable housing in the islands. Many of our homeless moved to Hawaii under the terms of the Compact of Free Association, a security pact between certain Pacific island nations and the federal government that has forced Hawaii to bear a disproportional burden of the social and health costs of this migration.

We are owed some relief. (Ca-Ching!)

read ... Homeless plan shows promise but more needed

How Cheaper Energy Could Change Our Lives

CB: ...respected economist Joseph Stiglitz felt compelled, in a 2012 speech at the University of Hawaii, to highlight the detrimental impact of America’s highest electricity rates on this state’s economy.

The Nobel Laureate emphasized the importance of creating an efficient and competitive electricity system based on renewable energy, especially solar, which doesn’t require a massive scale to drive down costs. “And I think if you do that,” Stiglitz said, “it would do much to increase standards of living here and make Hawaii more competitive.”

From a cost-of-living vantage point, our electricity prices act like a tax on individuals and nearly all business activity — but without the revenue going to government for things like social services, roads and other infrastructure.

We use less energy — generally between 50 percent and 60 percent of people on the mainland. The financial resource website WalletHub lists Hawaii as having the nation’s most expensive average monthly electric bill, at $179, despite the fact that we don’t need heating in winter.

A 2014 report from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, found that direct per capita spending on electricity in Hawaii in 2012 was $1,072.

DBEDT’s Eugene Tian, the chief state economist, specifies that this amount doesn’t include indirect costs from high electricity prices that run through the economy like a whipping sheet, raising the cost of everything from building a home to groceries.

Truly affordable electricity would bring a multitude of benefits, like getting more money coursing through the state’s economy, according to economists. It could be a boon to innovation by leaving companies more money to invest in upgrades. Businesses could lower their prices, buffer their bottom lines, increase salaries, pay off debts or otherwise grow.

Beyond individuals and companies, markedly cheaper energy would benefit the state government since it is a big direct and indirect consumer of energy, too. Lower energy prices would mean bringing down the cost of running Hawaii.

read ... Cheaper

Inmates on work furlough to don electronic monitors in Bid for more Funding

SA: ...No, they are not. However, Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety will begin a pilot program soon to electronically monitor some inmates furloughed from Oahu Community Correctional Center, after training for staff and participating prisoners is completed in September, said spokeswoman Toni E. Schwartz.

Funding for the program is limited, she said. It is hoped that the pilot will establish a successful model that can serve as the basis for a 2016 legislative budget request to make the pilot permanent and expand it statewide. The department “acknowledges that the implementation of electronic monitoring will greatly enhance its ability to closely scrutinize the movements of participants on a regular basis,” Schwartz said....

read ... Bracelets

BOE to Consider Milder Student Discipline Policy Tuesday

CB: ...The Hawaii Board of Education is slated to consider a considerably scaled-back student discipline policy on Tuesday, after delaying a vote on the proposal for more than three months while trying to address the concerns of school principals.

The policy, which had been aimed at reducing student suspensions and clarifying the role of law enforcement on school campuses, first came before the full board in May. It was pushed back until June and then deferred again in August after complaints from school principals who felt the BOE did not garner enough input from them.

The suggested revisions, compiled by the new BOE Student Achievement Committee chair and vice chair, include stripping the policy of language that would have made student suspensions an action of last resort and only for “serious infractions.” The new version would also delete the section addressing the presence of law enforcement officers on campuses.

Last year Hawaii suspended less than 4 percent of its students — well below the national average....

read ... Discipline

Pop Warner Anti-Bullying Campaign

KGI: “Mauka to makai, Bully-free Kauai!” the cheerleaders chanted as Doi was joined by PCNC coordinator Judy Cano and KPWFL Commissioner Teddy Arroyo in rolling out the Kauai Anti-Bullying Campaign banner during a break at the annual JAMZ Camp for cheerleaders and their coaches.

The cheer was developed while waiting on several hundred young people who gathered for an anti-bullying sign waving campaign on Aug. 1, coinciding with the season opening for the Pop Warner football program on Kauai....

“This is so special,” Doi said. “And to think, it all started after a young person suffering from a disability complained about being bullied.”

read ... Complaint sparked anti-bullying campaign

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