The Honolulu Advertiser once again covers an important story on education, but misses the point. In today's article, the newspaper reports the fact that Hawaii schools receive more than $2 million each year in private donations. It even states that some schools have become reliant on these donations, even to cover some operating expenses. The article goes on to tell us that the state spends roughly $13,000 per student per year in public education (Louisiana spends about $7,600).
Where the article misses the point, however, is how in the world a state can spend that much money on public education and still have schools relying on private donations! Not to mention still have crumbling (in a figurative sense) schools. That's absurd!! Punahou, the most elite private school in Hawaii, alma mater of Steve Case (founder of AOL), Michelle Wie (golf phenom) and Barack Obama, charges $14,725/year in tuition. Shouldn't a public education be comparable in quality?
These numbers highlight two major points. First, money is not the issue! Competency is the issue! (one of many, I guess, but a leading contender) Second, there are inane inefficiencies in a system that can spend so much money per student, yet have so little of it trickle down to the classroom. With that kind of a budget, you'd think teachers could be paid a professionally-competitive salary, and all classrooms would be equipped with a set of personal computers. Instead, we have a top-heavy Board of Education bureaucracy hiring a slew of carpetbagging consultants, among many other money-draining endeavors, I'm sure.
The disappointing thing is that nobody is calling them on this. The Honolulu Advertiser's mission is "to chronicle Hawaii's story while being a vigilant partner in helping the Islands shape their future. To be diligent, truthful, accurate and fair. To provide a voice for all the community..." Unfortunately, as I've become accustomed to, the voice of my students is not being provided by this powerful publication.