Schools nationwide are taking advantage of virtual learning and the internet to improve education. The most successful ones allow students unrestricted access to online programs, so they can take high quality courses regardless of geographic location. Yet online education programs Hawaii lag far behind some of the better programs found on the Mainland. The Florida Virtual School (FLVS), for example, provides K-12 online education and has vastly improved test scores and achievement statewide. Florida’s virtual school students have not only demonstrated positive gains in education, but they have even out-performed their peers in traditional school settings and posted above-average test scores in advanced placement courses and mathematics. These improvements aren’t just relevant to Florida: They represent a pioneering example in virtual education for other states to follow. Hawaii should learn from these successes, to gather the best practices from effective models, and to implement these lessons now. (more)
In an article titled “What are the ‘Ceded Lands’ of Hawaii?” written for Honolulu Civil Beat on 11/08/2010, Professor Van Dyke makes some critical errors in his assessment of both the history and the law. While acknowledging the Supreme Court’s rejection of the “Apology Resolution,” he still relies on it for his “legal” justification. While quoting from the Admissions Act of 1959, he omits a key clause that differentiates between “should” and “can.” But most problematically, Van Dyke intimates that “Native Hawaiians” were somehow legally separate during the Kingdom period in Hawaii, and that the public lands that were returned to the State of Hawaii have some sort of racial lien on them. (more)
E pluribus unum. Present on the Great Seal of the United States since 1782, its meaning is both simple and profound - “Out of many, one.” Originally it may have been but a literal acknowledgment of the Union of the thirteen colonies, but as the years have gone by it has become a philosophical premise which we apply as a standard of morality. It is today a clarion call for the respect of diversity, an acknowledgment that while we may have our differences, we are one people, under one law. Each citizen of the United States takes for granted that regardless of their racial background, cultural background, or family history, they are endowed by their Creator, the same unalienable rights as all their other fellow citizens. (more)
It is noticed that virtually every political talker who says they support the Akaka bill likes to say, in response to the “why” question, something like: “I am in favor of the Akaka bill because it will be good for all of the people of Hawaii” Duke Aiona says that. So does OHA. It seems reasonable to assume Governor Lingle thinks that. Otherwise she would not be in favor of the bill. Or, would she, could she, be in favor of a law that she knew was going to hurt some people in Hawaii just to look like she was helping others? (more)
So, what ever happened to the much-ballyhooed OHA petition to force money out of the Hawaii legislature? I remember when they filed it with the Hawaii Supreme Court. How could I forget? I got two separate press releases, a print newsletter article, an e-newsletter brief, and multiple links to the story as picked up (and especially endorsed) by other media outlets. (more)
Do not miss William Allen's Remarks!
Curious about what people outside of Hawaii think of the Akaka Bill? Take some time out of your day to see what people in Washington DC, our nation's capitol think of the Akaka Bill. Featuring speakers like William Allen (Former Chairman of the US Commission on Civil Rights), Andy Blom (Executive Director of the American Principles Project) and Frank Scaturro (Former Council for the Constitution for the Senate Judiciary Committee), this video is filled with important information that you need to know. Also, as an added bonus, hear what shocking things Neil Abercrombie has to say about the Akaka Bill. (more)
No Accountability and Improper Incentives
Imagine this scenario: You live next-door to a man with a nice job promising nice retirement benefits. Yet when he decides to retire, you are the one who will pay the bill. This is the situation for the retirement benefits of almost 14 percent of workers in Hawaii. While it seems logical for taxpayers to cover the benefits of public employees, this arrangement has given the state government a moral hazard to invest retirement funds in unwise and risky investments. There is little incentive for the managers of the Hawaii Employees Retirement System to insure solvency. Decisions are made by individuals with no interest in the financial success of the fund and the taxpayers who cover the losses have no say in the way funds are invested. (more)
A series of three 60-minute lecture/discussions were scheduled for the Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu on three successive Sundays in September 2010. The presentations were publicly announced ahead of time. I, Ken Conklin, was the speaker for September 12. My topic was: "Unity and Equality vs. Racial Separatism -- Why the Akaka bill is historically, legally, and morally wrong; with bad consequences for all Hawaii's people including those with native ancestry" (more)
Is Quality Education a Forgotten Goal?
A teachers’ union, such as the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), can be a helpful mechanism for employees to influence the terms of employment. Yet when this sort of union is given a monopoly over contract negotiation, both teachers and students suffer. In states with exclusive collective bargaining, as in Hawaii, a union is given the right to be the only body with whom the state can negotiate. This analysis considers the aspects of exclusive bargaining that hinder the efficiency and quality of Hawaii’s public education system. (more)
Former Gov. Cayetano Warns Current Governor Lingle: Review Environmental Impact Statement Carefully Before Authorizing Most Expensive Rail System in the Nation
Former Democratic Gov. Benjamin Cayetano backed his political rival Republican Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday saying she shouldn’t rush to approve the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed $5.5 billion Honolulu rail system without first reviewing the document carefully. That may seem like common sense, but Hawaii’s most powerful Senior Senator, Daniel K. Inouye, is “begging” Lingle to sign the EIS immediately before it ever reaches her desk. (more)
In the last three years, nearly all fifty states saw government budgets operating in the red as a result of the global economic crisis. The fallout of the meltdown gained considerable notoriety in Hawaii as the determination was made to compensate for the revenue shortfall in part by implementing a temporary furlough of Department of Education personnel. The Hawaii State Legislature, faced with mounting public opposition to “Furlough Fridays” and insufficient revenues to maintain current levels of spending, considered a variety of funding mechanisms, one of which included the use of raiding funds designated on state budget worksheets as “B” means of financing (MOFs), or “special funds,” as it was believed that a number of these accounts were either in excess of their operational requirements or funded mandates which had sunset. (more)
Hawaii’s taxpayers might be shocked to discover that while numerous voices in and out of the local political establishment are calling for an increase in the General Excise Tax to cover any future budget shortfalls in education or other state services, upwards of $1.4 billion dollars in unspent excess funds may be sitting in special funds, several of which were tagged by the auditor almost a decade ago for repeal. According to the Department of Budget and Finance’s “Reports on Non-General Fund Information: Fiscal Years 2006-2012,” some 186 special funds spread across twenty different departments hold an estimated $1,412,357,203 in unspent revenues over and above their operational requirements. In plain language, if the estimates provided by the Department are correct, the state has more than just pocket change stuck in its seats. (more)
Did Your Legislator Pass the Freedom Test?
This year, Hawaii state legislators were put to the financial test. With a record state shortfall, the legislature came up with all types of creative solutions.
One was to raise taxes, which the House and Senate approved in more than a dozen different votes. Another “solution” was to raid almost every special fund and use the money to fill the depleted general fund. Unfortunately, spending cuts were not high on the list.
After the link, each legislator has been scored based on his or her performance in the 2010 legislative session. Scores indicate the percentage of votes in which legislators voted in favor of limited government and greater individual liberty. While a few legislators seized the shortfall as an opportunity to make tough spending decisions, the vast majority voted to continue for the status quo—excessive spending and even higher taxes for the people of Hawaii. (more)
On Wednesday, April 21, the Honolulu City Council considered a resolution to support the Akaka Bill. There were 29 minutes of testimony and questions that were recorded by 'Olelo TV, and further divided up into three part by Jere Krischel. Below you will find the videos. Please enjoy!
Co-authored by Hideo Hikida, Frances Nuar, and Jamie Story, the second annual 2010 Hawaii Pork Report reveals more than $300 million in waste, abuse, and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars. Click on to see the full report and press release (more)
Part 2 in a series
Big Island small business owner Jim O'Keefe found out the hard way that his American dream, owning his own business, was too difficult to maintain in Hawaii. He closed down his 13-year-old extensive bakery wholesale and retail operation, O’Keefe & Sons Bread Bakers, in 2008 because it was too costly to maintain. (more)
Correcting historical revisionism and misconceptions promoted by the Akaka Bill.
How Fast Does The State Government Spend Your Money?