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A New Year

It is approaching 10 PM, Hawai‘i Standard Time, on 31 December 2009 as I write this post.

Quilly is at her computer, completing the recap of her last twelve months as There is little point to our trying to hold a conversation, for all around us, the barrage of heavy ordnance continues, as it has through much of the day. They call it “fireworks”, but it feels more like “firepower“. And there’s no shortage. I didn’t think the need for ammo in Iraq and Afghanistan had relaxed to the point that they’d be selling the surplus at the Army-Navy stores …

I’d been searching the web for an official response – any official response – to the unilateral, and apparently illegal, imposition of salary restrictions on the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i, announced two days ago and effective on the first day of the New Year, when a flash intruded itself between the ones coming though the windows.

The Hawai‘i State Superintendent of Schools has resigned.

The very one who was forced to sign off, four months ago, on a deal that slashed teacher salaries (which were already, by far, the worst in the nation as a function of purchasing power) and gave Hawai‘i the dual distinctions of having the shortest instructional year and the 48th-worst student performance levels in America.

The one who was, over the past two weeks, trying to negotiate restoration of the lost school days (“Furlough Fridays”). And, from all appearances, found herself caught between an Executive that is determined to nullify the 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution on the backs of teachers, and a union which, in the face of continual dead-catting by the good citizens of the Aloha State, declines to let its members be reduced back to the status of plantation serfs.

Obviously, former Superintendent Hamamoto had enough of being the cockroach between the shoe and the floor. With her resignation, the chances of public-school teachers (and their students) getting any relief from the impositions of the super-rich and their client governor become even smaller than they already were.

Not that it matters. For without good will among humans, little can be accomplished in any significant endeavor. And our experience is that the “people of aloha” have a really hard time providing good will to anything.

Except roman candles, skyrockets, and M-80s at New Year’s.

On earlier occasions, Quilly and I had tended to chuckle about the annual New Year’s conflagration in Hawai‘i.

This year, not so much. Our day of aloha o‘e approaches; our new year will be in another place, colder on the outside but warmer on the inside. We sit in a house that will soon be stripped, with BOOOOM! all around us, and reflect on the place we have called home for the last two-plus years.

Where there’s no money for teachers.

But there’s choke for fireworks.


    1. Thanks, Dawg. As for “year of reason”, I hope so but that’s not the way to bet. If 2010 manages not to channel 1992, I reckon we’ll be ahead of the game.

    1. Indeed, Melli. We go from the tropical icebox of Maunalua Bay to the refrigerated microwave of Puget Sound.

      Some say the world will end in fire,
      Some say in ice.
      From what I’ve tasted of desire
      I hold with those who favor fire.
      But if it had to perish twice,
      I think I know enough of hate
      To say that for destruction ice
      Is also great
      And would suffice.
      – Robert Frost

  1. panem et circenses, said the ancient romans. not much has changed, it seems

    may the future bring you satisfaction in whatever you do… happy new year!
    .-= polona´s last blog ..first minutes =-.

    1. Melissa, I vividly recall the time I asked a class of university science students about their career aspirations. As I predicted, “Teacher” was the near-universal choice of those in the lowest quartile. The students who were earning the Ds and Fs (translated to Bs and Cs by a university scared that someone might figure out just how useless their programs had become). This experience, then and now, is, I feel, perfectly in keeping with both the economic prospects of teachers and the esteem in which they are held by the community. I find it increasingly hard to bother working within a society that decrees this. I guess that’s a form of R & R.

    1. Thanks, Thom. You may take a large portion of the blame for 2009 not being worse than it was for us.

  2. Happy New Year to both of you. I wish you happiness, good health and contentment in your move to the mainland. I really think the fireworks are ridiculous! Everybody I’ve talked to think it’s ridiculous but somehow it keeps going on and on.
    .-= musings´s last blog ..Traditional New Years Eve =-.

    1. Nicole, may your ordnance, and that of everyone else in the Middle East, be only for show. For a change.

  3. The educational condition of the public schools is part of the reason we turned down the opportunity to move there a few years ago.
    Granted, it only got us to DC, but a 2-hour commute has purchased quality education for our kids.

    Wishing you success and a better situation in Friday Harbor.
    .-= kcinnova´s last blog ..2009: the year that was =-.

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