Hawaii: Scolded for Furlough Fridays

After Hawaii decided to cut 17 instructional days from its public school calendar, Education Secretary Arne Duncan criticized the move on the first of the state’s furlough Fridays. “All states are under financial pressure, but none are cutting this much learning time from their school year,” Duncan wrote in a Honolulu Advertiser oped Friday. “It’s inconceivable to me that this is the best solution for Hawaii.”

For parents, child care was also a burden. Reported Mary Vorsino in the Honolulu Advertiser on Saturday:

The furlough days have left Hawaii with the shortest school calendar in the nation and drawn the ire of some parents, who have been left scrambling to secure child care or forced to take vacation days to stay home with children. Yesterday, hundreds of kids went to hastily set up furlough Friday day care programs across the state…

Many parents leaving their children at day care centers said the financial strain of paying for such programs in order to deal with the furloughs has been tough. Child care providers added that the lower-than-expected turnout at day care programs is probably because people are already struggling in the economic downturn. They said turnout will likely increase as the furlough plan progresses.

To read more about Hawaii’s furlough Fridays, check out additional coverage on the MoJo blog.