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Summer 1984

Dot Ridings to Speak at Council
Water Water Everywhere, Is it Safe to Drink? (Linda Lai Hipp)
Education at Koolau: Can We Do Better? (Marty McGurk)
O Where O Where Does the Money Go!!? (Carol Whitesell)
Peter's Principles (Peter Herman)
What is Council?
League Joins HCSCH
What Happened at the Legislature (Marion Saunders)
Have You Analyzed Your Reapportionment Plan Today?? (Anne Lee)
ERA Lives!
Comparable Worth or How Much Is Your Job Worth?

Education at Koolau: Can We Do Better?

A composite profile of a youth at Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) shows a person with a fourth or fifth grade level of academic achievement on standardized tests, and with learning or mental disabilities. He/she is deficient in basic skills-reading, writing and math-and has no vocational skills. It is also no surprise that school has been a negative situation: He/she has found little success.

And yet, in order to survive, to meet with success after release, to lower the chances of that youth returning to this or another prison, some way must be found to help the youth overcome these educational odds. It is not an easy task.... indeed it is a great challenge.

The League has been actively involved in the planning of educational opportunities at Koolau for the past three years. House Resolution 322 of the 1983 legislature resolved that the Department of Education (DOE) together with the Department of Social Services and Housing (DSSH) and the League, study the feasibility of a 12 month school year and a longer school day at HYCF. (Presently, school is in session as any other DOE school: 8 to 1:30 September to June, Summer school: half day for 6 weeks.)

At the close of our planning sessions in mid-October, we were disappointed when DSSH and DOE reached a deadlock: DSSH firmly believed that a year round school was necessary and feasible (given certain resources), while the DOE contended that it was impossible at this time. The DOE further recommended that such a school could not be implemented without first developing an integrated year-round PROGRAM fostered through tri-agency agreements. (DSSH, DOE and the Department of Health (DOH)).

The League filed a report with the legislature as an addendum to the response. It is our belief that the INTENT of the resolution was not met.

We feel that a more appropriate response would be that a 12 month school is feasible given adequate resources. The League could firmly support the DOE at the legislature in requests for funds etc. given a response of this nature.

This study, as well as responses to HR 300 in 1981 and HR 209 in 1982, provides ample data upon which to base educational planning. Over 50 pages in this report alone unequivocally support the need for additional education.

The League agrees with the need and benefit of long-range planning through tri-agency discussions, but we disagree that a 12 month school is not feasible. By concluding such, the DOE has provided a non-solution to a serious problem. To further recommend that such a school is impossible without more planning, is to shirk the responsibility of providing education for the wards of Koolau.

Marty McGurk

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