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Teachers out in force

First photo: More than 30 Kamalii Elementary School teachers, parents and students in Kihei wave signs before school Tuesday supporting teachers and their efforts to obtain a contract. Sign waving events were held at public schools all over the county and the state. There are 1,400 public school teachers on Maui, 100 on Molokai and 50 on Lanai.

Second photo: Kamalii Elementary School technology coordinator/teacher and head faculty representative Christine Oshita (center) said sign wavers were hoping to raise public awareness about teachers’ contracts that will be up soon and that the state has not been negotiating in good faith. “We’re very concerned about the number of teacher vacancies and the number of teachers who must work two jobs, which takes time away from when they could be lesson planning and concentrating on the students,” said Oshita. A teacher for 11 years, Oshita said she became a teacher, because “I felt that being a teacher is such an important job, raising the children who are going to be the future.” Now a veteran teacher, she said that there is so much to do besides teaching and preparing lessons. There is a lot of paperwork, much associated with accountability and evaluations, that detract from the time that could be devoted to the children. She said more is demanded of teachers without providing the resources. She also felt disrespected by the evaluation process the state Department of Education developed and that teachers are trying to negotiate out of the new contract.

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

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