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Hawaii Lays Off Its Students

Hawaii in an attempt to save money in this downturned economy and dramatic falloff of tourism, closed schools on 17 Fridays.  This was done without a regard to working  parents. Parents had to use vacation or sick days.  Some enlisted the help of grandparents. Many paid $25 to $50 per child each week for the new child care programs that had sprung up.

Children, meanwhile, had to adjust to a new meaning  of T.G.I.F. Getting them up for school on Mondays grew harder. Fridays were filled with trips to pools and beaches, hours of television and Wii, long stretches alone for older children.

Four-day weeks have been used by a small number of rural school districts in the United States, especially since the oil shortage of the 1970s. During the current downturn, their ranks have swelled to more than 120 districts.  But Hawaii is an extreme case. It shut schools not only in rural areas but also in high-rise neighborhoods in Honolulu. The state owes billions of dollars to a pension system that has only 68.8 percent of the money it needs to cover its promises to state workers, Hawaii instituted the furloughs even after getting $110 million in stimulus money for schools.

Unlike most districts with four-day weeks, Hawaii did not lengthen the hours of its remaining school days: its 163-day school year was the shortest in the nation.

The furloughs were originally supposed to last two years, but the outcry was so great — that a deal was hammered out to restore the days next year.

America is sacrificing its future by sacrificing its children.

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