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Amendment to the City Charter
Know Your Candidates - Honolulu City Council
Board of Education Candidates

League of Women Voters DemocracyNet - www.dnet.org

Board of Education Candidates

4 / Central O'ahu

Shirley Robinson
Born: April 2, 1951 in Lakeland, Fla. In Hawai'i since 1980.
Job: Homemaker, community leader, volunteer.
Lives: Pearl Ridge.
Experience: 'Aiea Neighborhood Board. State Commission on Status of Women. Trustee, Hawaii Theatre for Youth.
Contact: 488-8698
sarjaguar@aol.com
Why are you running for office?
Hawai'i's economic future depends on the children of today. I will transform my willingness to serve on the DOE Into an opportunity that will benefit the public schools and the entire State of Hawai'i,
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
The DOE needs to work within our complex system to improve the basic dynamics of any company that needs to recruit and retain employees.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
The DOE needs incentives to make educators choose to eagerly pursue professional development.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
I would be more inclined to work toward creating a quality public school system that makes parents want to keep their children in our public schools.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
I have two children who attended both public and private schools.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
I hope to promote synergy efforts to improve our school system by creating an educational coalition between educators, DOE, BOE, citizens, students.

4 / Central O'ahu

Grace Dixon
Born: Feb 5, 1928 in New York City. In Hawai'i since 1987.
Job: Wife, mother, Army wife of 30 years.
Lives: Wahiawa.
Experience: First-time candidate. Board member, Protection and Advocacy Agency, Friends of Honolulu Botanical Gardens, Friends of Wahiawa Grace Library.
Contact: 621-0043
Why are you running for office?
As an outspoken advocate for public school and public libraries. I believe education is the superhighway to success.
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
Concentrate on teacher training and high-quality books and classroom materials.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
Look at the specific population and tailor skills training to the student.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
Right now, I do not favor vouchers.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
My four children attended public schools and public university, but I do not think that should be a litmus test for teachers or Board of Education members.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
I would like to see a professional teacher in every classroom.

6 / Windward O'ahu

Laura H. Thielen
Born: March 25, 1961 in Los Angeles. In Hawaii since '66.
Job: LHT Services, provides professional services to nonprofit organizations.
Lives: 'Aikahi.
Experience: Kailua Neighborhood Board. Managing attorney, Legal Society of Hawaii 1995-97, Volunteer, 'Aikahi Elementary and Kids and Drugs.
Contact: 254-2817
laura@laurathielen.com; www.laurathielen.com
Why are you running for office?
I want our kids to have enrichment programs and smaller classes, our teachers to be trained, our schools to have a greater share of money.
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
1) Transfer more authority and accompanying funds to schools, complexes and districts. 2) Eliminate legislative mandates. 3) Conduct an Independent audit of the Dept. of Education.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
Direct more training, curriculum, tutoring and enrichment programs to low-income children.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
Schools should be given time to meet new state standards and the new federal law without losing funding to vouchers.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
Two daughters at 'Aikahi Elementary. Older daughter moving to a private school next year.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
More money and control to the schools, complexes and districts.

6 / Windward O'ahu

Terrance Tom
Born: June 8, 1948 in Honolulu.
Job: Attorney.
Lives: Kāne'ohe.
Experience: State House 1982-98. City deputy prosecutor 1973-76. State Vocational Rehabilitation Board, Advisory council, Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. Musician and composer.
Contact: 521-2333
Why are you running for office?
I would like to make a difference in the quality of public education. My experience in the Legislature will be an asset on the Board of Education.
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
First, an audit of DOE funds and expenditures; and working with the Legislature, executive branch and DOE to ensure that monies are targeted for the classroom to make a difference.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
Provide additional funds for supplemental services, i.e. tutoring services, after-school instruction for students and comprehensive staff development for teachers on teaching strategies.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
I am against a voucher system which would destroy public education. I favor using funds to improve the quality of education in all schools in the state.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
Two children; private schools.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
Improvement of student performance in the Hawaii State Assessment.

O'ahu at-large

Karen Knudsen
Born: Dec. 17, 1950 in Holdrege, Neb. Hawai'i since '78.
Job: Director, Office of External Affairs, East-West Center. BOE member.
Lives: Kalama Valley.
Experience: Board of Education 1990-present. Member PTSA, Friends of the Library, Honolulu Community Media Council. Pacific & Asian Affairs Council. Former Peace Corps volunteer.
Contact: 395-3725; Knudsen@kalama.com
Why are you running for office?
Being involved with, advocacy for, and supporting public education is the most important contribution I can make to my community and to Hawai'i.
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
Schools currently receive 98% of the DOE budget. More funding is needed for the entire system if we are to make progress.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
Aggressively complyu with Board of Education policies, No Child Left Behind Act, Legislative Act 238 and provide assistance / sanctions when required.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
Vouchers would hurt public education. I oppose vouchers. Vouchers would divert money from public schools to private / religious schools.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
Two children attended and graduated from public school – Kalani and Kaiser high schools.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
Work with legislators to fund BOE's policy document – the budget.

O'ahu at-large

Shannon Ajifu
Born: Sept. 4, 1936 in Honolulu.
Job: Retired DOE principal. Board of Education member.
Lives: Kailua.
Experience: Board of Education 1998-present. DOE principal 1966-89. DOE education specialist, counselor 1989-98. Hawaii Teachers Standard Board. Joint Venture Education Forum.
Contact: 262-4208
Why are you running for office?
I strongly believe I will be able to provide a balanced perspective of the issues confronting the Dept. of Education.
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
I would vigorously support the superintendent, who strives to provide resources to schools despite an inadequate budget.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
It should focus staff development and resources to train school personnel on research-based strategies while continuously monitoring progress.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
During periods of inadequate funding for schools, vouchers are potentially devastating. Vouchers would not help poorer families send their children to private schools.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
Two children attended public and private schools.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
Review our organizational structure to determine efficient delivery of services.

O'ahu at-large

Keith Sakata
Born: Jan. 4, 1951 in Honolulu.
Job: Industrial construction inspector, city Dept. of Design & Construction. BOE member.
Lives: Kalihi.
Experience: Board of Education 1994-present. Kalihi-Palama Neighborhood Board. Kanoa Street Neighborhood Policing.
Contact: 216-1972
Why are you running for office?
To sustain progress DOE has made in eight years satisfying the Felix Consent Decree, and to help the DOE meet the challenge of "No Chile Left Behind."
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
Compared to the other 49 states, Hawai'i has more funds spent in the classroom than in the district or state offices. Downsizing is having a negative effect as schools are asking for help which can be best coordinated at a district or statewide level.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
It seems unlikely that a school will under-perform when there is parental involvement, adequate funding, 1:20 class size, discipline in the classroom and support for the licensed teacher.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
A voucher system will not work and should not be implemented. I will support a partial tax deduction when children leave public school for private.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
All 7 children graduated / attending public schools.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
Sustain progress of special ed and introduce policies to support "No Child Left Behind" mandate.

O'ahu at-large

Marla Wade
Born: Feb. 11, 1953 in Boston. In Hawai'i since 1981.
Job: Licensed minister, administrator, New Grace Christian Fellowship.
Lives: McCully.
Experience: First-time candidate. Case manager, Child & Family Service. Legislative budget analyst. Hawaii Island Adult Care. Volunteer, domestic violence and teen pregnancy programs.
Contact: lighthousekpr@excite.com
Why are you running for office?
To join other board members in making public education the best that it can be for our children's sake and our state's future.
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
By working with legislators, DOE superintendent, principals, teachers and parents to assess the needs and funnel money appropriately.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
Determine what's working at high-performing schools and set out to duplicate it. Not be afraid to think differently.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
Vouchers can serve as a catalyst for improvement. I believe parents have the right to choose when, where and how their children are educated.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
One son, attended public school except grades 4-6.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
Implement the 1998 board-approved Character Initiative.

O'ahu at-large

Randall Yee
Born: Nov. 17, 1958 in Honolulu.
Job: Attorney.
Lives: Kaimuki.
Experience: Makiki Neighborhood Board. Past chairman, city Planning Commission. Director, Drug Addiction Services of Hawaii. American Cancer Society. Aloha United Way Planned Giving Committee.
Contact: 524-4501
rmly@msn.com
Why are you running for office?
I am running for office because I believe the education of our children is Hawai'i's future.
How would you ensure that a grater proportion of the DOE budget reaches the classroom level?
By reassessing and rearranging the structure within the Board of Education to function more efficiently.
What should the DOE do to improve under-performing schools??
Allocate resources to allow those under-performing schools the ability to provide the tools necessary to improve on performance.
Are school vouchers necessarily bad for public education? Do you favor a voucher system??
I think school voucers is bad for public education as it avoids the problem of what needs to be done to improve our public schools. I am against vouchers.
How many children do you have, and did they attend public or private school?
Two children. One graduated from public shcool and one attends private school.
What's the No. 1 education policy you'd work to pass?
Continue to work on streamlining the system.


LWV- Honolulu

President - Pearl Johnson
Vice President - Jackie Parnell
Secretary - Robin Loomis
Treasurer - Malia Schwartz
Editor - Anna Hoover
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