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Sunday, April 15, 2012
Ed Week: Hawaii in Biggest Trouble, Feds Have Good Reason to Revoke Race to the Top
By Selected News Articles @ 7:10 PM :: 4064 Views :: Energy, Environment

Is Hawaii One Step Closer to Losing Race to Top Grant?

by Michele McNeil, Education Week April 13, 2012

With the fate of Hawaii's $75 million Race to the Top grant hanging in the balance, this is not good news for the Aloha State.

Though there are a couple weeks left in Hawaii's legislative session, it appears that an important bill to keep the state in the good graces of the U.S. Department of Education has met an early demise. Legislation to create teacher performance evaluations—something the state promised to do in its Race to the Top application—has died.

This is not good timing because within the next few weeks, the federal department is expected to update the state and the public about Hawaii's high-risk status. A team from the department visited Hawaii late last month, in part, to re-evaluate whether the state should keep its Race to the Top grant. Team members were in search of "clear and compelling" evidence that the state is making progress on its Race to the Top promises.

As you can see from the list of Race to the Top changes that have been approved by the feds, all winning states have struggled with implementation. But Hawaii is in the biggest trouble. Without legislation or some significant progress on a new teachers' contract—which would provide examples of "clear and compelling evidence"—the feds might have good reason to revoke Hawaii's Race to the Top grant.

* * * * *
HSTA: “You Cannot Expect Better Results”

Statement on Teacher Evaluation Bills

April 13, 2012

Based on recent comments from various legislators, we feel compelled to clarify the issues regarding the teacher evaluation bills. We are thankful that Senator Jill Tokuda and Representative Roy Takumi have helped raise the level of debate over how to improve public education. In fact, we are in agreement with Senator Tokuda that "learning matters." However, we respectfully disagree with both Senator Tokuda and Representative Takumi on the legislation they introduced.

First, it is simply wrong to suggest that teachers do not put their students first. I believe most teachers would feel offended by such remarks. The Senate and House Education Chairs appear to have forgotten that for the past three years teachers have taken pay cuts, and many have had their health care premiums doubled. Teachers have sacrificed their planning days to preserve student instructional days. (After doing the reverse in 2010 for purely electoral purposes) Yet the school preparation and planning continues during non-paid time, after school and on weekends. When you cut education, you cannot expect the same, let alone better results.

Senator Tokuda and Representative Takumi are not educators. They are misguided in thinking that a "teacher evaluation system" is a quick fix to what ails public education. Teachers understand their role because we are on the front lines every day. Teachers are also parents, with children in our public school system. We all want success for our children.

Teachers also know that the success of the child is equally, if not more importantly dependent upon parental involvement, proper nutrition, and supports that help mitigate language, culture and other socio-economic factors. By ignoring the voices of teachers, you are leaving out those who are on the front lines with the students.

Teachers are not opposed to an evaluation system that is fair, valid and reliable. Teachers have had performance evaluations in place for decades. However, is it reasonable to ask teachers to accept a new evaluation system that has no details-especially when their future careers and salaries are at stake? In 2010, the National Governors Association Center concluded that "reforming teacher evaluation and compensation requires teacher engagement to build understanding and support."

In closing, see our analysis of how the proposed legislation circumvents collective bargaining by tying compensation, incentives, and sanctions to a teacher performance evaluation system. We simply want to ensure our fundamental right to negotiate-not legislate or mandate. When we return to the bargaining table on April 18-20, we hope to find mutual agreement with the State on these very complex issues.

Wil Okabe
President
Hawaii State Teachers Association

HSTA Analysis of Teacher Performance Evaluation Bill click here»
Notable Quotes related to Teacher Performance Evaluation" click
here »

View YouTube video of Senator Jill Tokuda's Speech on April 12, 2012: http://youtu.be/-HbIsNHnFH4

* * * * *

Inouye, Akaka, Hirono, Hanabusa: Hawaii is making Significant Progress

(This April 15 Star-Adv commentary signed by by Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation starts with 8 paragraphs on Robotics—a program from the Lingle Administration for which the Hawaii DoE has done almost nothing.)

“Our Hawaii Department of Education, together with the teachers in the 18 schools in the Zones of School Innovation on the leeward coast of Oahu and the southern districts of the Big Island, agreed to institute a pilot teacher evaluation program.

“Another 63 schools and their teachers voluntarily agreed to join the pilot evaluation program next year.

“This achievement along with new Board of Education policies and a willingness to bargain collectively, demonstrates that Hawaii is making significant progress in this area.”

(Followed by four paragraphs on one successful school—Lanakila ES)

From the Comments on the article: “This commentary is a totally biased piece of propaganda and I am utterly disappointed in our Washington delegation. They missed an opportunity to scold the Governor for trying to go around the teachers not once, not twice, but three times now. In fact, these esteemed elected officials incorrectly assert that teachers and the DOE have agreed to a new evaluation system. WRONG. The zone schools have had it forced down teachers' throats with no input from us. In addition, the expanded pilot to 63 non-zone schools was agreed to by Complex Area Superintendents, NOT teachers...and there is considerable upset from many teachers at these schools who will not be given any additional time for training on this entirely new performance evaluation and any of its implications for those it is designed to target. Shame on these four leaders, whom I usually hold in great respect, for spreading these lies for the DOE!”

Reality: Faking it for the Feds, Abercrombie Prepares to Impose Another ‘Last, Best, and Final Offer’ on HSTA

read … Anything to get $75M

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