Hundreds of demonstrators rallied at the State Capitol today to protest the closing of Hawaii public schools due to the State's implementation of "furlough Fridays."
As part of the Hawaii State Teacher's Association (HSTA) recently ratified two-year contract with the State, teachers will be furloughed 17 days of each school year, leaving more than 170,000 school children with two three-day weekends a month -- and over three weeks out of the classroom.
Parents, teachers and students displayed signs saying "I need 180 days" and "My child left behind." The general message from protesters was for lawmakers and the governor to find another way to balance the state budget without cutting student educational days. (Speaker Calvin Say's public statement on the anti-furlough Fridays rally)
Members of the event's organizing group, Hawaii Education Matters, hand delivered a petition to Governor Linda Lingle. It is reported that more than 4,000 signature are on the petition.
Jack Johnson, North Shore resident and famous music artist, sang "Better Together" and other songs for parents, teachers and students who attended the rally.