Hawaii’s teachers need a fair contract now

Public schoolteachers deserve respect by supporting their need for a fair contract now.

As a retired elementary teacher, I have been substitute teaching for several years in schools on Maui. Every teacher works very hard to implement a mandated curriculum. There is no question that teachers put in maximum time and effort to do the best job they can for their students.

Teachers, thank you for the sustained caring, dedication and hard work you do day after day. Principals, you are the catalyst that sparks the energy level of the students and teachers alike.

Do teachers have a satisfactory contract? No. Does every classroom have adequate educational materials – textbooks, workbooks, computers and curricular materials? Is top-quality education being now offered to every student in grades K to 12? Highly unlikely.

It is clear that priority must be to first adequately fund the elementary through high school educational programs mandated by the state Constitution for grades 1-12. This includes negotiating, in good faith, a fair contract for teachers. The governor, in his State of the State address, said that he is making universal preschool a top priority. However, even kindergarten is not mandated by Hawaii law. (Check with your local school principal or the state Department of Education to verify this fact.)

Please support our very hardworking teachers by working in good faith for a fair contract now.

Our students deserve enthusiastic teachers who are not worrying about their contract and expenses.

Susan M. Lussier