What Hawaii Teachers Are Saying About Agreement

Emails and direct messages from teachers wanting to vent about the proposed contract between their union and the state have been flowing into my inbox.

Every single one came with a request not to publish the name of the writer. "I just want you to know," they say, of the reason they're writing. The problem with knowing, though, is that you can never un-know. These teachers were sharing thoughts that give deep insight into educators' concerns as they head to the polls Thursday to vote on the new contract.

You might be shocked to learn that some of them said they would prefer abiding with the "last, best and final" offer Gov. Neil Abercrombie imposed on them last July, than take the deal struck earlier this month. They all have their reasons for thinking the way they do about the current agreement. Reasons that deserve to be aired.

So we made a deal of our own. I asked the ones who had contacted me if it would be OK to share their words with our readers — with the understanding that I will not publish or share names, positions or any information that could betray their identities. We granted them anonymity because they said they feared retaliation and wouldn't share their thoughts otherwise.

Many agreed. Some wouldn't permit us to print their thoughts even anonymously. (Read Civil Beat's anonymous sources policy.)

The following comments — in teachers' own words — are extracted from emails and direct messages, and organized by major topic area:

  • Performance evaluations
  • Salaries and health costs
  • Time off/leave
  • Hawaii State Teachers Association leadership
  • Vote predictions

We alternated comments between plain type and a gray screen background to make it easier to distinguish the separate points of view.

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