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April 2008

President's Report (Jackie Parnell)
Education Committee (Mary Anne Raywid)
Con Con (Jean Aoki)
LWV-US on Presidentional Selection (Jackie Parnell & Jackie Parnell)
Elections (Jean Aoki)
Chapter Reports - Honolulu (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Chapter Reports - Hawaii (Leilani Bronson-Crelly & Sue Dursin)
Chapter Reports - Kauai (Carol Bain & Lisa Ellen Smith)
Calendar Items? (Stephen Trussel)
Calendar of Events

Education Committee

The Education Committee has decided to concentrate for the forthcoming legislative session on schools-within-schools (otherwise known also as "academies" and "small learning communities"). We know that Superintendent Pat Hamamoto is in favor of small schools and there is a great deal of research to support them -- but the Weighted Student Formula approach to school finance which Hawaii has formally adopted (by law) really makes small schools all but financially impossible to operate. At the same time, the evidence shows that small schools are far preferable for the very students the Weighted Student Formula was designed to aid than are large ones!

Small schools have been shown to yield higher student involvement and participation than large ones; better academic performance; better behavior and fewer disciplinary incidents; and higher graduation rates -- and all this is especially the case where poor and minority children are concerned. These groups are more penalized by large schools and benefited by small ones than are more privileged children.

According to the U.S. Department of Education (NCES), as of 2001-02, Hawaii averaged the second largest high schools in the nation. We cannot rebuild them all, but in light of the facts cited above, we can downsize them by creating multiple small schools or schools-within-schools within them. There is a lot of experience on the mainland with such efforts and how to make them work. So the League Education Committee is drafting detailed legislation on a schools-within-schools initiative which would offer grants to groups of teachers desiring to launch such units within their high schools. Teachers wishing to do so, and meeting the criteria written into the legislation, would receive grants to cover start-up expenses.

Mary Anne Raywid, Co-Chair,
Education Committee

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