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Saturday, May 5, 2012
Hawaii Falls Short, May Still Lose RTTT Money: Hirono, Hanabusa Pleased
By Selected News Articles @ 1:35 AM :: 7977 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

Hawaii Falls Short, May Still Lose RTTT Money: Hirono, Hanabusa Pleased

Full Text of RTTT Letter:

AP: Hawaii still on 'Race to the Top' high-risk status

AP: The U.S. Department of Education said Friday it would keep Hawaii on "high risk" status for failing to carry out education reforms it promised in return for a $75 million grant from the federal government.

The designation means Hawaii may still lose the grant money if it doesn't do a better job of implementing reforms, including setting up new teacher evaluations that reflect student achievement. Hawaii must also follow through with plans to tie teacher compensation to their performance.

Steps to establish an evaluation system have been stymied by a failure of the state and the teachers union, the Hawaii State Teachers Association, to agree on an approach.

Deputy Education Secretary Ann Whalen told Gov. Neil Abercrombie in a letter Friday that Hawaii has taken recent actions in the right direction to address concerns the department had. But she said most of the actions have been preliminary.

"Hawaii's Race to the Top application set a high bar for success and their work still falls short of the accomplishments that the state set out to achieve at this stage of the grant," Whalen said in a statement to the media….

Department officials plan to reevaluate Hawaii's status after another review of Hawaii's progress in five to six months.

The Education Department upgraded Hawaii's status in one area: It doesn't need to ask the federal agency to approve its expenses on Race to the Top plans anymore, because Hawaii has met certain budget conditions….

"A transformational change is taking place in Hawaii's public schools. This change is focused on creating a better learning environment to boost student achievement," Kathryn Matayoshi, state schools superintendent, said in a statement.

* * * * *

Congressional Delegation Statement May 4, 2012:

The Hawaii Congressional Delegation released the following statement in support of Hawaii's $75 million Race to the Top Grant after the U.S. Department of Education acknowledged that Hawaii has made significant progress in recent months.

“Hawaii has made significant progress with its Race to the Top grant since being placed on high-risk status last December. I am proud of their efforts. We must now demonstrate that the progress made and the reform path forward are sustainable and permanent. I am glad that the U.S. Department of Education has acknowledged the progress over these last months. While not yet removing the high risk status, the removal of the reimbursement hurdle will allow Hawaii to meet its challenges at a much quicker pace. I look forward to speaking personally with Secretary Duncan next week to reaffirm our Congressional Delegation’s commitment, as well as that of our education leadership, to completing our race to the top for the benefit of Hawaii’s children," said Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

"I am pleased to see Hawaii has made improvements in recent months to accomplish the goals of their Race to the Top project. I support the U.S. Department of Education's decision to remove Hawaii from reimbursement status for the competitive grant program. This is a very encouraging sign that the program is turning around. I urge Hawaii's educators to continue their diligent efforts to get the initiative back on track," said Senator Daniel K. Akaka.

"Today's announcement reflects Hawaii's notable progress over the last several months toward fulfilling its Race to the Top plan," said Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "While we still have much more work to do, lifting one of the federal sanctions on Hawaii's grant shows that Hawaii's teachers and schools are working hard and heading in the right direction. Improving our schools is challenging, but we can get there by working together toward clearly articulated reform goals."

I congratulate the Hawaii Department of Education on their progress in meeting the requirements of Hawaii’s Race to the Top grant. Education must be a primary concern for our community. The federal Race to the Top grant represented an acknowledgement of Hawaii’s commitment to education and our willingness to pursue excellence. The actions of the U.S. Department of Education in recognition of HIDOE’s recent efforts demonstrate that we are on the right track, and I encourage all involved to continue these efforts and place Hawaii’s grant back on solid footing," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.

* * * * *

News Release from Abercrombie’s Office May 4, 2012:

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) acknowledged the progress that the State of Hawai'i has made in its Race to the Top plan. The DOE also informed Governor Neil Abercrombie that Hawai'i has met the Scope of Work and budget conditions and will therefore remove Hawai'i from cost reimbursement status.

In light of this news, Governor Abercrombie released the following statement:

“In our conversation yesterday, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan acknowledged that Hawai'i is making good progress on our Race to the Top plans. As a result he will remove cost reimbursement restrictions, which had been in effect.

“I remain in close contact with Secretary Duncan to keep him personally informed of our commitment and continued progress.

“That includes the recent action by the State of Hawai'i Board of Education to finalize statewide educational policies establishing the framework for performance management of principals and teacher evaluations. We believe that this focus on our children and student performance are key elements in establishing success.

“We appreciate the U.S. Department of Education’s investment in Hawai'i. We will continue to press forward on these reforms with the objective of ending the high risk status currently under review.”

* * * * *

SA: Slow progress on education keeps grant at 'high risk'

CB: Hawaii Race to the Top: 'Not Out of the Woods Yet'


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