Tom Hartmann Interviews Justin Hughey After Successful

On May 4, 2010, Justin Hughey was interviewed on the Tom Hartmann radio program that boasts of over 3 million listeners. Tom was interested with Justin’s recent passing of a progressive resolution in the Hawaii State Legislature. Hear the interview in it’s entirety here: http://cdn2.thomhartmann.com/sites/default/files/private/podcasts/2010_0504_THP-050410-hour1.mp3

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VIEWPOINT: True Change & Accountability are Needed to End the Education Crisis

August 15, 2010

By JUSTIN HUGHEY

When it comes to the challenges faced by this state, perhaps nothing is as big as our crisis in education, especially considering that our children are our future.

As a 34-year-old teacher fed up with the embarrassing and worsening lack of support for our schools, I am running for the 8th District House seat in the state Legislature. My goal is to provide the keiki of Central Maui, as well as all of Hawaii, a true and unwavering voice for education reform that will give us a school system second to none instead of second to last. As one who works with kids daily and cares about their future, I have seen firsthand the ongoing frustrations with the status quo that puts the desires of back-line bureaucracies over those on the front lines trying to make our schools the best they can be. I believe that we can make an educational renaissance bloom in Hawaii if parents and teachers, with support from our community, work together to demand a true road map for reform that puts decision-making and proper resources at the school level.

My road map to an educational renaissance can be laid out using the following guideposts that will take us to one conclusion: Empower the teachers and principals at the local level and give them the tools to make the decisions and get the resources they need in the quickest time possible.

Fully fund education. (end furloughs forever). We now only have a one-year fix. The recent end to furloughs must be permanent so that no matter what happens to the economy we won’t have to go through something that was so disrupting and destructive to our kids’ educations, not to mention costing us millions of dollars in federal and private support for our schools.
Ensure local decision-making within our statewide school system.
End wasteful contracts for outside consultants.
Effectively measure student and school performance.
Conduct a fair and impartial audit of the Department of Education.
Cut DOE with a scalpel not a hatchet.
Eliminate the repair and maintenance backlog.
Make schools energy self-efficient.
Fully staff schools for a well-rounded education.
Create teacher incentives to establish and keep highly qualified teachers.
At the school where I have taught for the past five years, I have seen kids taking state assessment tests under a collapsed ceiling with rain pouring in because the state did not release funds to meet the growing repair and maintenance deficits of our schools. This is totally unacceptable. Moving these essential repairs and upgrades forward, along with ending teacher and student furloughs permanently, are our most pressing urgent needs.

While I live in Wailuku, the area I hope to represent, these education reforms are for all the children of Maui nei. The needs of kids who walk down Main and High streets in Wailuku are no different than the needs of kids from Hana to Lahaina. If the kids win through a school system that is second to none, then we, as a society, all win as well.

We can push back against the political maneuvering that is destroying our schools and children’s future.The battle to take back our educational system begins now. Maybe by putting this teacher in the House, we can teach other elected officials a lesson that real education reform means that they never waver in their commitment to empower those in the front lines of education so that we can have the schools that our community truly deserves.

Isn’t it time we put a teacher in the House?

* Justin Hughey of Wailuku is a candidate for the 8th District (Kahakuloa-Wailuku-Waikapu) House seat.

*****

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Candidates debate state of isle education

Several of those vying for lieutenant governor praise the efficiency of charter schools

By Dan Nakaso

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 07, 2010, Star Advertiser

!Hawaii’s lieutenant governor candidates last night praised the efforts of island charter schools — especially the 16 that avoided Furlough Fridays while absorbing budget cuts — and called for more emphasis on early childhood education, but fell short on coming up with new ways to find money for promising programs.

The two-hour forum at the University of Hawaii’s architecture auditorium was devoted to education, which moderator and UH political science professor Neal Milner called “what many people think is the most important issue facing the state.”

The panel, attended by about 90 people, provided a few opportunities for showmanship.

When no one had turned on the auditorium’s air conditioning system by the 6:30 p.m. start, supporters of state Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu used the opportunity to pass out Karamatsu hand fans to audience members.

State Sen. Gary Hooser stood to answer his first question, saying he was the first legislator to oppose Furlough Fridays, which resulted in Hawaii having the fewest instructional days in the nation.

“Unfortunately, not enough other people stood up with me,” Hooser said.

He said he wants to be “the wing man for education reform, for educational excellence. … When government tells you there’s no money, they’re really telling you it isn’t a priority. We need to make education and keep education a priority.”

The six Democrats and two Republicans who attended the forum were asked how they would reduce the huge backlog in repair and maintenance projects at UH and the Department of Education; repair Hawaii’s educational image; retain effective teachers in sometimes troubled communities; and find new sources of revenue for the DOE — or decide which programs to cut.

Hawaii’s selection to receive $75 million in Race to the Top federal funds also popped up periodically as a topic, but state Rep. Lyla Berg cautioned that “there is much we need to do before we can pour money into any educational system.”

Like Republican candidate Adrienne King, Berg said she wants to look at “inefficiencies and ineffective polices” in the DOE, and hopes to engage communities in identifying local roadblocks in their schools.

The event included some light political sparring among the group, which included seven current or former legislators, including Brian Schatz and Robert Bunda.

Asked how they would ensure adequate funding for charter schools, several of the candidates said the appropriate formula has been adopted by the Legislature and was held up by Gov. Linda Lingle’s administration.

“It’s the administration that sets the budget for charter schools, not the Department of Education,” state Sen. Norman Sakamoto said.

After several other candidates praised charter schools, Republican state Rep. Lynn Finnegan said she was “surprised everyone is so supportive of equal funding for charter schools. It never happens at the state Capitol. … If we were truly supportive of charter schools, we would have equal funding by now.”

Finnegan, who had two children attend Voyager charter school, said charter schools provide “a sneak peek into what the DOE can look like.”

Early childhood education was another popular theme, but none of the candidates had easy answers about how to provide more money.

The forum was the second on education sponsored by Save our Schools Hawaii and the committee organizing a Hawaii chapter of Parents for Public Schools.

Three candidates with less-visible campaigns did not participate: Democrat Steve Hirakami of the Big Island, Free Energy Party candidate Deborah Spence and nonpartisan candidate Leonard Kama.

The groups will hold their third candidate forum focusing on Hawaii’s gubernatorial candidates from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the UH architecture auditorium.

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$75M PAYDAY

Public schools will use federal funds to improve both students and teachers

By Mary Vorsino

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Aug 25, 2010

The $75 million Race to the Top federal grant announced yesterday for Hawaii schools will kick-start some of the biggest reform initiatives ever seen in the state’s public education system, educators say.

The money will be targeted on efforts to turn around low-performing schools, boost student achievement, better evaluate teacher effectiveness and steer low-performing teachers out of the classroom.

Officials say although the changes are sweeping, they are also doable — through measured phase-ins and targeted work to help students, teachers, principals and schools in need of the most help.

“I know we have a huge job ahead of us,” interim schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said at a news conference yesterday. “We’re really talking about redesigning all of our system.”

The biggest challenge in the Race to the Top reforms, officials say, will likely be hammering out a performance-based teacher contract that will evaluate teachers, in part, on their students’ progress over the course of the school year.

Student growth could be measured by test scores, but their progress will also likely include other factors.

Hawaii was among 36 states for the second round of the highly competitive federal Race to the Top grants. Nine states and the District of Columbia were named grant winners yesterday.

Hawaii’s share represents a small fraction of the state Department of Education’s budget of $1.7 billion, but officials say the money will go far because it will create new programs — not be sunk into existing ones.

MORE COVERAGE

» Best teachers, bottom schools: Getting the best instructors to teach at the state’s lowest-performing schools is a key element in the Race to the Top plan. Story Educators also hope the grant will help mend the tattered reputation of Hawaii’s school system in the wake of teacher furloughs last school year, which gave Hawaii schools the shortest instructional calendar in the nation.
Lois Yamauchi, a parent of two children in public schools and a member of Save Our Schools, a group formed to protest the furloughs, said the Race to the Top award is a “nice success after a year that’s been so difficult for many educators and families.”

She added that she is looking forward to the reforms planned as part of Race to the Top, especially more emphasis on supporting teachers and moving away from putting too much weight on test scores as an indicator of how a school is doing.

Valerie Sonoda, president of PTSA-Hawaii, said nobody can say for certain whether the big reforms the DOE envisions will actually come to pass.

But, she said, it is important that the DOE make ambitious goals and work toward them.

“I think … (this) is an opportunity that Hawaii has to improve its education programs,” she said. “I’m hoping that the department will use the funds to reform education to ensure that we have the foundations in place so that we don’t have another furlough-type situation.”

The state has a rough time line for when it would like to see big improvement in key areas, and says poorly performing schools should be seeing see rising student achievement within a year.

A Hawaii team will travel next month to Washington, D.C., to work out key details of the grant, including when the Race to the Top money will be disbursed and what progress goals the state will have to meet.

Meantime, the state is entering collective bargaining now, and some teachers — in schools in need of the biggest improvements — could be on performance-based contracts as early as 2011.

All teachers are expected to be on the new contracts by 2013, when half of an evaluation will be based on student performance and the other half will be based on observations by a principal.

Evaluations are now based on qualitative assessments (such as how a teacher manages a classroom or tackles a lesson).

Al Nagasako, executive director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said teachers are wary of the changes and the new push to measure effectiveness.

But, he added, they are also interested in coming to the table and talking about how they can do their jobs better. He said the key is ensuring that ineffective teachers get the help they need to do better and those who show no improvement are counseled about possibly leaving the profession.

“Teachers are quite apprehensive. They’re definitely looking for the support to make it happen,” Nagasako said. But he added, “We’re at the table. We want to be part of it.”

The biggest chunk of the state’s Race grant — $33.2 million — will go to improving teacher and principal effectiveness through more training opportunities, bonuses for highly effective teachers and other initiatives.

The state will spend about $18.7 million from the Race grant on turning around the lowest-performing schools by instituting programs — including expanding pre-kindergarten opportunities and extending classroom time — in “zones of school innovation” on the Big Island and along the Leeward Coast.

Other key reform efforts include boosting classroom rigor by implementing the national common core standards curriculum, improving student performance data collection and use and reorganizing the DOE to better monitor and support reform.

Matayoshi stressed that none of the Race funds will be used to address budget shortfalls or tackle operational costs, like backlogged repairs.

“The money is meant to start reforms, to leverage reforms,” she said. “This is not intended to replace our general fund budget reductions.”

Yesterday at a Capitol news conference, state officials, Matayoshi and other educators were all smiles as they discussed the great strides they intend to make and said there was never any doubt that Hawaii’s school system could do great things.

“Some may be surprised we are a recipient. I don’t think it should be a surprise,” said Garrett Toguchi, chairman of the Board of Education. “Hawaii has proven … our schools have been doing a lot better” than commonly thought.

A panel of experts scored each Race to the Top application on a 500-point scale and rescored it after in-person interviews with finalists, in which states explained how their reforms were attainable.

Hawaii received 462 points, third highest after Massachusetts and New York. In the first round of grants, announced in March, Hawaii received merely 364 points in large part because its application was incomplete.

In a conference call with reporters yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Hawaii’s application was “very impressive.”

“Despite the furlough days, Hawaii has a real chance to take student achievement to a different level,” Duncan said. “Hawaii absolutely put its best foot forward.”

Race to the Top grants are aimed at rewarding states that have “ambitious yet achievable” plans for implementing compelling and comprehensive education reform.

The federal government has doled out $4.35 billion through Race to the Top — $600 million of which was split between round-one winners Tennessee and Delaware — as part of a push to improve the nation’s education system and better prepare students for college or careers.

Some of the reform work outlined in the state’s Race to the Top application has already started, including efforts to institute new programs at Nana-kuli Intermediate and High School and Waianae High aimed at boosting student achievement through project-based learning.

Kamehameha Schools and others have teamed up with the DOE on some of those reforms, offering funding and other support to help struggling schools and close the achievement gap among native Hawaiians and disadvantaged children.

Kamehameha officials said yesterday the Race to the Top award would further mobilize other community partners and bolster public-private partnerships in schools.

“For Kamehameha it just makes total sense that we join arms with the public school system,” said Dee Jay Mailer, chief executive officer of Kamehameha Schools. She added that the Race grant — and its reforms — are “groundbreaking” for Hawaii.

“This is really going to jump-start and accelerate everything that’s going on,” she said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

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9 States, DC Get $3.4B in ‘Race to the Top’ Grants

Aug 24, 3:34 PM EDT

By DORIE TURNER
Associated Press Writer

ATLANTA (AP) — More than 13 million students and 1 million educators will share $3.4 billion from the second round of the federal “Race to the Top” grant competition, the U.S. Education Department said Tuesday.

The department chose nine states – Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island – and the District of Columbia for the grants. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said 25,000 schools will get money to raise student learning and close the achievement gap.

The “Race to the Top” program, part of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, rewards states for taking up ambitious changes to improve struggling schools. The competition instigated a wave of reforms across the country, as states passed new teacher accountability policies and lifted caps on charter schools to boost their chances of winning.

“These states show what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children,” Duncan said in a conference call with reporters. “Every state that applied showed a tremendous amount of leadership and a bold commitment to education reform. The creativity and innovation in each of these applications is breathtaking.”

In the first round of the contest in the spring, just two states were winners – Tennessee and Delaware – and they scored more than 440 out of a possible 500 points. In this round, Duncan said all 10 winners scored more than 440 points, showing improvement in the applications.

The department wanted to choose more winners but “simply ran out of money,” Duncan said. He said he hopes to reward more applicants next year with another $1.3 billion for a third round.

For the winners, the grants mean a cash infusion at a time when education funding is dwindling, forcing teacher layoffs and program reductions. The awards range from $75 million for Rhode Island and D.C. to $700 million for New York.

“While this has seemed more like a marathon at times, now the real race begins,” said Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, whose state is getting $400 million. “This is truly a unique opportunity to implement a Georgia-created plan that will accelerate our work in improving student achievement.”

Georgia came in third in the first round of the $4.35 billion competition in March, losing out to Tennessee and Delaware, which are sharing $600 million. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia applied for the second round of the competition, and the Education Department named 19 finalists in July.

The applicants named winners Tuesday will share $3.4 billion. Another $350 million is coming in a separate competition for states creating new academic assessments.

In their applications, winners promised to support charter schools, create tracking systems that follow students through their academic careers, and improve teacher training programs at state colleges.

One notable absence on the list of winners was Colorado, which passed a controversial law this year that ties teacher pay to student performance and allows the state to strip tenure from low-performing instructors. Colorado officials said they will forge ahead with reforms, though progress will be slowed without the federal cash.

“They clearly in Washington have a tin ear about how we do things in the West,” said Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, who helped make the state’s pitch to the competition’s judges.

Like Colorado, at least 17 states vying for the money reformed teacher evaluation systems to include student achievement, and more than a dozen changed laws to foster the growth of charter schools. Dozens also adopted Common Core State Standards, the uniform math and reading benchmarks developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association.

“The change unleashed by conditioning federal funding on bold and forward-looking state education policies is indisputable,” the Democrats for Education Reform said in a statement. “Under the president’s leadership, local civil rights, child advocacy, business and education reform groups, in collaboration with those state and local teacher unions ready for change, sprung into action to achieve things that they had been waiting and wanting to do for years.”

In a speech announcing the finalists last month, Duncan called the change a “quiet revolution.”

“This is not about funding a few states on a pilot basis. This is about a national movement,” he said Tuesday.

But some education groups said “Race to the Top” rewarded states that have weak reform efforts while leaving out those like Colorado and Louisiana that have made strides to overhaul their schools.

“It becomes clear that the vagaries of peer reviewers and the prowess of grant writers are what drive results in such competitions, not true policy change, political courage, leadership or public commitment to reform,” said Mike Petrilli, a former Education Department official who is now vice president at the Fordham Institute.

Between both rounds of the competition, 46 states and the District of Columbia applied.

The competition for many states was an uphill battle, with teacher unions hesitant to sign on to reforms directly tying teacher evaluations to student performance on standardized tests, and education leaders concerned winning meant giving up too much local control.

Florida was among the states that got resistance from many teachers unions in the first round of the competition but won their support after taking a more collaborative approach in round two.

“I think it shows that when the governor brought all the stakeholders together, we came up with an application that was strong and doable,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union.

Other states, like Indiana, dropped out of the competition because of the lack of union support for the state’s application.

Associated Press writers Christine Armario in Miami and Michael Gormley in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.

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Hawaii among states to be awarded “Race to the Top” education money

August 24, 2010

ATLANTA (AP) – Hawaii is among nine states and the District of Columbia that will get money to reform schools in the second round of the $4.35 billion ”Race to the Top” grant competition, The U.S. Education Department said today.

In addition to Hawaii and Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island will receive grants, department spokesman Justin Hamilton said.

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle said the state’s share would be $75 million.

The historic program, part of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, rewards states for taking up ambitious changes to improve struggling schools, close the achievement gap and boost graduation rates.

The competition instigated a wave of reforms across the country, as states passed new teacher accountability policies and lifted caps on charter schools to boost their chances of winning.

”While this has seemed more like a marathon at times, now the real race begins,” Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said in a written statement. ”This is truly a unique opportunity to implement a Georgia-created plan that will accelerate our work in improving student achievement.”

Georgia came in third in the first round of the competition in March, losing out to Tennessee and Delaware, which are sharing $600 million. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia applied for the second round of the competition, and the Education Department named 19 finalists in July.

The applicants named winners Tuesday will share a remaining $3.4 billion. Another $350 million is coming in a separate competition for states creating new academic assessments.

One notable absence on the list of winners was Colorado, which passed a controversial law this year that ties teacher pay to student performance and allows the state to strip tenure from low-performing instructors.

Colorado officials were expected to comment later today.

More than a dozen states vying for the money changed laws to foster the growth of charter schools, and at least 17 reformed teacher evaluation systems to include student achievement. Dozens also adopted Common Core State Standards, the uniform math and reading benchmarks developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association.

”The change unleashed by conditioning federal funding on bold and forward-looking state education policies is indisputable,” the Democrats for Education Reform said in a statement. ”Under the president’s leadership, local civil rights, child advocacy, business and education reform groups, in collaboration with those state and local teacher unions ready for change, sprung into action to achieve things that they had been waiting and wanting to do for years.”

In a speech announcing the finalists last month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the change a ”quiet revolution.”

Between both rounds of the competition, a total of 46 states and the District of Columbia applied.

While the program has been praised for instigating swift reforms, the competition for many states was an uphill battle, with teacher unions hesitant to sign on to reforms directly tying teacher evaluations to student performance on standardized tests, and education leaders concerned winning meant giving up too much local control.

Florida was among the states that got resistance from many teachers unions in the first round of the competition but won their support after taking a more collaborative approach in round two.

”I think it shows that when the governor brought all the stakeholders together, we came up with an application that was strong and doable,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union. ”The Department of Education saw the progress that we made and I just hope that collaboration and cooperation continues at the local level.”

Other states, like Indiana, dropped out of the competition because of the lack of union support for the state’s application.

A number of states that did not win the competition said they still planned to proceed with the reforms they had proposed, though they acknowledged change would take place at a slower pace without the financial boost of ”Race to the Top.”

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Hawaii Teacher Shortage as Furloughs Continue

Teacher Shortage as Hawaii Furloughs Continue

Shortage Areas & Subjects

The U.S. Department of Education has identified Teacher Shortage Areas for the 2010-2011 school year.
Computer
English
Foreign Languages
Hawaiian
Mathematics
Science
Special Education
Vocational Education

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