A Clear Choice for Governor: Public Education Status Quo or Reform

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BY THOMAS E. STUART– When it comes to public education, Honolulu Star-Advertiser writer Derrick DePledge would have readers believe there is not much difference between gubernatorial candidates Abercrombie and Aiona. (Candidates give priority to education, Sep. 26)

Well, let’s just see about that —


>> Aiona insists on TRANSPARENCY — launching the first wall to wall audit of the state Department of Education since 1973.

>> Abercrombie faults the Lingle-Aiona administration for its “unsuccessful pursuit of multiple school boards and an audit of the DOE”

>> Aiona insists on ACCOUNTABILITY — giving  the governor the power to appoint the statewide school board

>> Abercrombie “has taken no position on the issue”.

>> Aiona insists on DECENTRALIZATION, the putative goal of the Act 51 education-reform law which has NOT worked as intended.– “They haven’t achieved what, in theory, they said they were going to achieve. And we’re back at the same place.”

>> Abercrombie “believes true decentralization will take a significant amount of planning and implementation discipline”

>> Aiona insists on NOT RAISING TAXES as a bedrock premise of his campaign

>> Abercrombie would grow the size of government — increasing taxes — to “create a new state Department of Early Childhood”

As a public school teacher, I believe both candidates deserve credit for offering voters a razor sharp education policy choice.

One is a local, vigorous, idealistic public servant determined to rescue kids from the dismal status quo; the other an aging, laid back Washington DC beltway legislative insider, entirely comfortable with the same old same old, using our kids as political pawns to advance his career by preserving the status quo.

Thomas E. Stuart is a middle school teacher at Kohala Middle School. He may be reached at Thom1s@earthlink.net





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