Letters to the editor: 09-06-19

Sacredness not a tool to divide

Both Lester’s Shirley’s column (“Hawaiian lands not stolen” and Marty Beck’s letter (“Mountain doing just fine without “protection’) underscore the ridiculousness of the behavior of the so-called “protectors.” Hawaii has been a state for 60 years. Do these “protectors” really want to give up all of their rights as U.S. citizens in order to return to a romanticized and revised past? Do they think they are going to personally benefit from polarizing the people of Hawaii and costing us taxpayers millions of dollars? Is this going to win them support for their cause — whatever it really is?


As evidenced by their affinity for driving around in gas-guzzling trucks in order to flaunt their upside-down flags, their cause is not about preserving the environment. Nor is it about the sacredness of the mountain. Sacredness is a human construct — not a divine one — and it is painful to see it being used as a divisive tool on our beautiful island.

Clearly it cannot be about making a better world for our children and grandchildren. Indoctrinating them with hatred for those whose culture or beliefs or skin color is different from theirs is only going to turn them into racists. Teaching them that scientific discovery is antithetical to their well-being is not going to create a brighter future for them.

Finally, showing them that it’s OK to break the law is not going to serve them well. The whole message of the movement is that if you are with the “protectors,” you are somehow above the law. Most of us will rejoice when the police begin arresting them not just for vehicular improprieties but also for illegal obstruction of a public highway.

Kerrill Kephart


Education success or failure up to us

In the absence of catastrophic intervention humans can expect an aging process spanning many decades. Success, however one chooses to define that term (we generally know it when we experience it), is rarely assured. On the other hand, disappointment is too often experienced by too many, usually with little effort.

Attempts to diagnose and prognosticate the future of Hawaii’s system of public education are many. Critics point the finger variously: under staffing with poorly trained and/or poorly paid teachers; inadequate facilities and educational materials; top-heavy and overly centralized bureaucracies, which inhibit rather than foster and encourage; and poor parental participation and support for public education.

All of the above are clearly in play. So too are complacency, inertia and our penchant for feeble excuses. A consensus emerges: public education is not delivering on either its promise or its responsibility.

Hawaii’s public and private sectors are served by many well educated and highly motivated persons – teachers, engineers, physicians, scientists of all stripes, judges, elected officials, entrepreneurs – the list goes on.

Speak to any one of these people and ask how important a role quality education – including their teachers – played in their lives. Should our children expect any less?

Hawaii’s loss of quality educators to more lucrative employment opportunities elsewhere is a travesty. So too are inadequate facilities in which we expect our students to learn and thrive. Yet, these issues are all fixable. It’s not only about money, it’s about commitment and dedication and making education truly a top priority.

We want all our children to find and then realize their potential. While quality education may not guarantee lifetime success, be assured that its absence is a prescription for failure. The legacy we pass on to our children is ours to give.

Good enough simply isn’t in the 21st century.


Edward Shulman