Friday, October 19, 2012

Obama's Hawaiian Punahou Prep School Connection

Hawaii's public schools are in crisis.

“Simply put, there isn't enough money to keep them open full-time. With…a $468 million budget cut to Hawaii's Department of Education, in September the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) voted to accept a two-year contract that includes 17 furlough days for both the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years….The cuts have been scheduled for regular school days, reducing Hawaii's public instruction from 180 days to 163, the fewest in the nation and ten days less than the state second from the bottom, North Dakota….

“There is no shortage of frustration to go around, particularly among parents of public school children. One such parent is Jack Yatsko,…the father of fifth and eighth grade daughters on the island of Kauai….Of the 34 furlough days planned this year and next, Yatsko said, `this is educational neglect.’…

“…The latest two-year contract… by nearly 8 percent as it slashes instructional days for students…Governor Lingle… imposed 14 percent budget cuts on the Department of EducationHawaii's fourth and eighth graders' test scores lag behind in National Assessment of Educational Progress rankings.

“Hawaii's state employee furloughs haven't been limited to educators and school employees. One furloughed state employee is Raymond Catania...Catania, who has two teenage daughters, one a sophomore at Kauai High School, pulls no punches.
"`By forcing teachers to take furloughs, it hits our children. Rich families can send their kids to Punahou (where Obama studied) or other private schools, but the working class can't afford that so our kids get cheated.’ …Catania said that with Hawaii's huge military presence, it is painful to see military expenditures increase, while the host state suffers what he considers disproportionate cuts to education and human services….

"On Oahu, Kyle Kajihiro, program director for the American Friends Service Committee…sees the current economic crisis as a pretext to cut programs for political or ideological reasons….

"I have to question why the defense budget keeps going up and up and schools keep getting cut. It's unconscionable." Citing the National Priorities Project, Kajihiro points out that since 2001 Hawaii residents have paid a $3 billion share of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "For that same money, Hawaii could have funded 54,718 elementary school teachers for a year," he said. Hawaii has around 13,000 public school teachers.”

--from a November 6, 2009 Truthout article by Jon Letman

“Aloha! My name is Jim Scott, president of Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Punahou School…is the largest single-campus private school in America with 3,750 students. All of our students go on to college, with over 90 percent coming to the mainland for college…I personally benefited from financial aid as a former Punahou student; so did President Obama, Punahou Class of ’79, who attended Punahou from fifth through twelfth grades…Today 40 percent of the children in Honolulu attend a private school…”

--from Punahou Prep School President James Scott’s Sept. 28, 2011 speech at the Office of Non-public Education’s Private School Leadership Conference

Obama’s Hawaiian Punahou Prep School Connection

Most working-class people in the United States attend or graduated from underfunded U.S. public school system schools—like the public schools of Hawaii. But some U.S. public officials, like Barack Obama, are preppie jocks who graduated from exclusive private schools like Hawaii’s Punahou School—which currently undemocratically requires the parents of most of its students in Hawaii to cough up over $17,000 to have their kids sit in a Punahou School classroom. Perhaps that’s one reason why the Democratic Obama administration failed to produce much change in the United States that created more affluence and more qualilty education for U.S. working-class families and public school students between 2009 and 2012? As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter noted in his 2010 book The Promise: President Obama, Year One:

“…Some black Chicagoans found Obama too `bourgeois’ for their tastes—too middle-class…The rap that Obama lacked a common touch reappeared in…[the 2008] campaign…The…reason Hillary Clinton hung on so long in the [2008] primaries was Obama’s weakness among white working-class voters…Obama…reminds them that a class of…elites had left them behind…As one of the…kids at the elite Punahou School in Honolulu, he [Obama] was a…jock…”

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