Monday, February 25, 2008

Blank screen, aloha. So, hmmm. Went to the soccer games on Saturday nite. pan pacific championship, Aloha Stadium. Imbibed overabundance of yeast barley based liquid. Not proud. It is what it is, as popeye would say, muscles bulging and brain tick tocking on subjects as far ranging as war in the middle east and unemployment. Reset programming. Erase. Repeat. Erase. Recode. Ate two hot pockets for lunch today. Hot pockets have not come a long way, baby. They have pretty much stayed in the same mediocre spot they’ve occupied for years, polluting stomachs and esophagi for eons and ages. Not sure if food touches the esophagus, but it sure sounded good. Wikipedia could probably tell me, but wikipedia lies. No, I’m not letting myself out of this so easily. There’s more. I should tip tap shit into here everyday, even if it’s, well, no, let’s not.

The public schools in Hawaii suck donkey dangle (not a compliment). I wish, serenely, that I could put it in a more mild or palatable for standardized consumption context, but shit is hard for a haole in these streets. I go outside and see joe mcdirt beggin scraps out front the 7-11. mr. mcdirt has been engaged in this same endeavor in this same spot for as long as I have frequented this establishment. There is no forward progress in the development of his life plan. Same applies for Hawaii public schools. There is much posturing, many promises, quite a few quips and barbs directed at the other party when power shifts hands and meanwhile the children of these beautiful islands, the ones that can’t afford the prestigious private schools, at least, languish desolately in the only completely state-run public school system in the whole country. The state’s department of education is the most heavily funded sector of public “aloha”, with a per capita student investment of just under $9,000, and the numbers only go down from there. The test scores hover in the 50’s and 60’s if lucky and you’re in the right district. Honolulu magazine compared the current situation to that of 2001 (when they’d published an article entitled “The death of public schools,”) and put forth the question in 2007 if the State public school system was possibly nothing more than “socialized day care.

Read it, weep:

If so many graduates leave high school unprepared for college or work, what is a Hawaii diploma even worth? For all this talk of standards-based education in the DOE, many local employers dismiss a high school diploma as nothing more than a certificate of attendance.

“For the most part, after the fifth grade, the Hawaii public schools are very much like a day care versus an educational institution,” says local advertising executive David Rolf, a longtime proponent of a uniform, more rigorous curriculum for all DOE schools. “An educational institution would have a specified curriculum and would have a central objective, but we don’t have anything like that.”

So what we have here is a statewide school district, covering 9 islands, basically run by bureaucrats shoving reams of paper across their desks at each other hoping nothing gets accomplished and changes the status quo until they can hit retirement (and hey, working for the state, it only takes 10 years and you can cash in on healthcare for life, huzzah!) and sail into the sunset and keep up those payments for their kids PRIVATE schools. While you stare west, I'll be looking east, and what choice do I have? I'm not willing to bet my kids' futures on the poor odds of the yokels righting the ship in time for the young p-worths turn to skip to the schoolhouse lunchpails in hand. Call me crazy, but I'd like em to learn something while they're wherever they go, and no, gratzi, I'll pass on ponying up 12 thou per tyke per year, tempting as it sounds and overflowing with cash as my giant money trunk is (filled to the rim with brim, natch).