PHOTO UPDATE: Maui Teachers ‘Take a Stand’
Teachers and parents across the state at 50 public school campuses conducted sign-waving and walk-ins before classes began today, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018, campaigning in favor of the school funding amendment.
The protest movement increased to nearly 50 schools since teachers held protests at six schools on Oct. 2.
On Maui at King Kamehameha III Elementary, Lihikai Elementary, Maui Waena Intermediate, Pomaikai Elementary, Wailuku Elementary and Kalama Intermediate School, Hawai‘i State Teachers Association members waved signs and held walk-in protests from about 7 to 7:45 a.m.
Parents and teachers involved are asking the public to support our schools and our keiki by voting “yes” for the constitutional amendment (Con Am) that is on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Last month, WalletHub released the results of a survey that found Hawai‘i is the worst place out of the other 49 states and Washington, D.C., to be a public school teacher, because of low salaries as well as a lack of both funding and support in the classroom.
“Right now, we use our own salaries and apply for grants to provide quality education for our youth,” said Liz Buchter, a robotics engineering and response to intervention specialist at Kalama Intermediate School in Makawao. “We desperately need help if we want to support the education of future generations.”
“Teachers need to take a stand and get involved,” said Donna Montalvo, head HSTA faculty representative for Kalama Intermediate. “Students depend on us. We must be role models and help students achieve their dreams and shape their future. We help make dreams possible!”
“We are asking you to vote ‘yes’ because our schools are in a crisis situation in which teachers are asked to do more with less,” said Maui Waena 7th grade Life Science Teacher John “Fitz” Fitzpatrick.
“We currently have over 1,000 classrooms without a highly qualified and trained teacher who has the responsibility of taking care of and teaching our most precious people—our keiki,” said Fitzpatrick. “We have schools with roofs falling in, overcrowded classrooms of 29-plus, special education students not getting as much help as they need in inclusion classrooms because there are no inclusion teachers, and 52% of new teachers don’t last five years because of the challenges we face everyday.”
This November, we have a choice to ask millionaires and billionaires with investment properties to invest in our keiki or we have no choice but to keep the status quo,” said Fitzpatrick. “I was on the Senate floor when Sen. Josh Green said that we must take action and do something, because teachers across the nation are striking and our teachers have it worse than them.”
“We are the worst paid teachers in the state when you adjust for cost of living,” said Fitzpatrick. “We also spend the least amount per pupil when adjusted for cost of living.”
“We are the only state in the nation that doesn’t use property taxes to fund public education,” Fitzpatrick concluded. “Let’s vote ‘yes’ in order to provide schools our keiki deserve.
About the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association
The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association is the exclusive representative of 13,700 public school teachers statewide. As the state affiliate of the three-million member National Education Association, HSTA represents and supports teachers in collective bargaining, as well as with legislative and professional development issues.