Letters 2-1-2013


Vocational education

Career, tech education offered in our schools

This is in response to John Ackert’s letter in regard to vocational education.

I have worked many years (entering my fifth decade) in teaching, counseling and administrative positions in the second and ninth largest unified school districts in the nation — Los Angeles and Hawaii Department of Education. I have been involved in planning, implementation, and evaluation of vocational programs and have also designed master programs (schedules) for high schools, including the extensive infusion of vocational classes.

I have seen the field evolve from practical arts to industrial arts to vocational education to career education to career and technical education (the DOE calls it CTE).

In my opinion, the DOE is doing a good job in providing access to CTE to all students, as much as manpower, budgets and physical plant constraints will allow.

Another perception that must be factored in is the idea presented by many on the school board, wary of litigation, emphasis be placed on trying to make every student college eligible by graduation. Add to this is the often contentious and adversarial attitude by all stakeholders against all others and you come up with a very confused state of affairs.

Despite these conditions, the two main high schools in the West Hawaii community offer better balanced, more substantive and more cohesive CTE programs that suit this area’s unique needs a heck of a lot better than many school districts in California. (I have been on many Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation teams that evaluate schools)

It is very gratifying to know that members of this community are concerned enough to use their insight to make our community a better place.

To the John Ackerts of the world: Keep it up.

Bryant Ching

Kailua-Kona

Palamanui campus

Seek the funding

How exciting for the Univerity of Hawaii-Hilo campus, a $66 million on three separate construction projects: a new student complex, a new campus student service building for $18, million, a new permanent Ka Haka Ula Keelikolani College of Hawaiian Language for $20 million. I am pleased for Hilo. This project was fast-tracked after Gov. Neil Abercrombie released funding in December 2011, according to Brian Minaai, vice president of the University of Hawaii System for Capital Improvements.

At the recent Jan. 9 All Campus Meeting at the University of Hawaii Center in Kealakekua, Vice President of Community Colleges John Morton announced the $21 million low bidder on Palamanui campus withdrew its bid and the next lowest bid for the long proposed Hawaii Community College-Palamanui is $25 million. We do have the funding of $7.5 million from the state bond issue and $9.7 million in private funds, but it seems like the project will be unable to proceed to break ground because of the almost $8 million needed for the $25 million bid.

At this meeting, President MRC Greenwood told attendees to contact Abercrombie and the Legislature to find the rest of the funds. I ask our community to renew contacts and continue to encourage the Legislature to find the funds to begin bringing permanent higher education to West Hawaii. Additionally, we hope the UH systems might be able to help fund Palamanui — if enough people in the community begin campaigning for this effort.

Jean Hull

Kailua-Kona