Hawaii Schools to Close on Most Fridays

Photo used under Creative Common license from Flickr user dok1

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Students in Hawaii who have dreamt of longer weekends and shorter school weeks just got their wishes granted. As a way to trim the state’s ballooning education budget, a new teachers’ union contract chops 17 Fridays off the remaining academic calendar for the state’s 171,000 public school students, the Associated Press reports. The President’s home state will now have  just 163 instructional days, while most states have 180.

The decision in favor of money saved, teacher layoffs prevented, and learning time lost comes as Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are calling for students across the country to spend more time in the classroom. The President said recently that he wants students to stay late or come in on weekends because “the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom.” Meanwhile, Hawaii already ranks near the bottom of the national education achievement barrell in terms of its test scores.

More than 80 percent of Hawaii’s voting teachers approved the new contract and its 17 furlough Fridays, but the decision has many parents and education advocates up in arms. Some working parents are scrambling to find day care, while parents of special-needs students are threatening to sue the state. “It’s just not enough time for kids to learn,” Valerie Sonoda, president of the Hawaii State Parent Teacher Student Association told the Associated Press. “I’m getting hundreds of calls and e-mails. They all have the same underlying concern, and that is the educational hours of the kids.”

Hawaii is not alone in its teaching budget cuts. California, Florida, and New Mexico have also asked teachers to take unpaid furlough days, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. But few if any furlough days in other states fall on dates that would otherwise have been used for classroom instruction. 

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate