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Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Education Reform: With a ‘C-’ Hawaii DoE Scores 7th in Nation
By News Release @ 2:49 PM :: 5451 Views :: Education K-12, Hawaii Statistics

Education Reform: With a ‘C-’ Hawaii DoE Scores 7th in Nation

From StudentsFirst State Policy Report Card

Hawaii is making progress on strengthening its education policies. Hawaii has improved its ability to attract and identify excellent teachers, but it must do more to ensure these teachers are retained. The state has adopted better educator evaluations, and effectiveness now informs tenure decisions and compensation structures. Unfortunately, seniority is still required to drive layoff and placement decisions, meaning that effective teachers are always at risk. Hawaii empowers parents with access to public charter schools, but it should provide meaningful information about school and classroom performance to better inform parents and enable charters to access facilities more easily. Finally, Hawaii should no longer lock teachers into the existing outdated pension system and should instead offer a more attractive, portable retirement option.

Hawaii has embraced a number of reforms recently, including adoption of better educator evaluation and performance pay systems. The state also supports quality in its public charter schools through an excellent accountability system and by ensuring charter schools receive comparable student funding.

Elevate Teaching

Hawaii is strong in several aspects, but it must continue efforts to ensure effective teachers and principals are retained and rewarded by districts. Hawaii requires districts to evaluate teachers based in part on student academic growth, but the state has not yet committed to a defined level of significance. Other key multiple measures are considered. Additionally, the state offers a robust performance-pay system. However, seniority continues to drive key personnel decisions, allowing other states to pass Hawaii by in efforts to improve teacher quality and elevate the profession. If Hawaii wants to strengthen its teaching corps, it must treat them like the professionals they are by expressly eliminating pay increases solely for advanced degrees and using teacher effectiveness as the driving factor in recruitment, placement, layoff, and tenure decisions.

Empower Parents

All families should have the information and access they need to provide their children with a quality education, and no student should be forced to attend a low-performing school or be taught by a low-performing teacher. Therefore, Hawaii must empower parents to take action by providing meaningful information on school performance and more high-quality school choice options. Hawaii must grade its schools on an A-F letter system based on student achievement data, require parental consent to place a student with an ineffective teacher, and grant parents the authority to petition local school boards to turn around failing schools. Hawaii is taking the right steps to ensure parents have high-quality public charter schools available, however, the state should create a publicly funded scholarship program for low-income students in chronically failing public schools to attend private schools.

Spend Wisely

Hawaii is unique in that it has no local school districts, providing the state full authority to intervene when schools are underperforming academically or financially and to develop innovative turn around models. Flexible staffing is also permitted because the state does not mandate class-size restrictions after the third grade. However, Hawaii should start linking the spending data it collects from schools to student achievement data. Doing so would allow the state to better determine whether resources are being spent wisely and which schools, models, or programs are producing the best outcomes. Moreover, Hawaii should reform its outdated teacher pension plan and move to a portable plan that provides career flexibility and retirement security for all teachers.

Read … The Entire Hawaii Report Card

Link: National Report

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