February 1994 Home   Newsletters

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April 1994

Citizen's Jury
Legislative Alert
National Campaign for Health Care Reform
Public Forum on Health Care Reform (Irene Coogan)
Can We Look for Education Reform (Marion Saunders)
Membership Orientation Meetings (Grace Furukawa)
Busy 1994 Agenda for P & Z Committee (Astrid Monson)
Waikiki Rezoning Workshop (Astrid Monson)
Hawaii Is Seeing Too Much Violence
League of Women Voters of Honolulu Budget Report
Membership

Can We Look for Education Reform

This is the session where the Legislature promised to bring reform to education. We have been following bills carefully, and submitted detailed testimony on several.

There is a comprehensive education bill in both Houses. There are innovation grants in the budget. There is provision for Charter Schools which we find seriously defective.

There is increasing interest in Charter Schools. They are, briefly, schools organized outside the bureaucracy so that they can be as innovative and creative as possible.

They are exempt from rules and regulations, and they hire their own staff. Across the nation, States are moving toward Charter Schools as a way to break the grip of the educational system that has proved so resistant to change.

Senate Bill 2689 puts authorization for Charter Schools under the Board of Education, which is acceptable. BUT they require the sponsor of a Charter School to go through the DOE for first approval! This is contradictory to the purpose of Charter Schools and would clearly dampen any group of teachers enthusiasm for moving out to a Charter School. Why do we skew a good idea?

We find a provision that schools-within-a-school (SWS) can only be organized in a School Community Based - school counterproductive. SCBM requires a lot of time and effort for small results. An SWS is a plan that addresses immediately the classroom, where students learn. Why hinge it to an unproductive SCBM process? This is a "One size fits all" orientation that we should have shed some time ago.

Marion Saunders
Chair Schools Committee

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