More classrooms will be cooler next year with the passage HB957. This bill allows the Department of Education to borrow $46 million interest-free from the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Loan Program to continue the expansion of the installation of energy efficiency measures relating to heat-abatement in our public schools, while also keeping the electric costs the same.
June 12, 2017
Posted by: Deborah Bond-Upson
We appreciate the support from our legislators for public schools!
Quality Public Education is essential to achieve equity and opportunity for all. We face special challenges in Hawai`i,
here more families choose a private school than in any other state.
So, we surveyed legislators on their public school experience and choices for children and grandchildren.
Attending public school or sending children or grandchildren to public school is not required to support public education.
However, it is essential that those with personal experience and investment in public schools, like parents and public-school educated representatives are included in our decision-making.
“We are dismayed that First Hawaiian chose to promote families going into debt to send their 5-year-olds to private elementary schools… A sad commentary on public education in our state.”
Editorial in the Island Voices of the Star Advertiser
By Lois A. Yamauchi
April 2, 2017
We, on the board of Parents for Public Schools of Hawaii, express our opposition to a First Hawaiian Bank commercial that depicts a local couple celebrating that their young child got into private school. While the text reads “Pay for Private School” and the announcer says, “You want the best for your child. We get it, and we can help” and suggests a home equity loan.
This commercial perpetuates the myth that “the best” for all children is a private school education, when there are many indications that there are excellent public schools in Hawaii. About 16 percent of families in Hawaii send their children to private schools, a trend that began when missionaries created separate schools for their children, not wanting them to attend school with Hawaiians. Such a racist and segregationist agenda continues today, albeit in a somewhat veiled fashion.
Parents are inundated with messages that they should do everything possible to send their children to private schools. This creates fear among young families that the public schools are inadequate. They are told that if they truly love their children, then they should send them to private schools. This message is counterproductive to the development of our state, as many talented young people leave our islands because they are unable to afford the high cost of living, including private schools.
But the majority of families in our state does send our children to public schools. We love our children and do not feel that we are putting our children’s future at risk by doing so. Quite the contrary. We believe in our public schools — in our teachers and in the importance of communities where multi-ethnic people and those from various income levels work together to learn from and about one another.
We value public schools that can create such an environment for children, rather than segregate them from others who are not like them. The 800 members of our organization believe that public schools are the bedrock of a strong democratic society. All of us must work to preserve the integrity of this vital element of our community.
Executives from First Hawaiian Bank are familiar with Hawaii’s public schools. Its executive vice president, Lance Mizumoto, is chairman of Hawaii’s Board of Education, and former CEO Don Horner was also a former BOE chairman. We know that First Hawaiian Bank is a business that earns revenue by convincing people to take out loans to better their lives.
However, given all of the messages that could be chosen to persuade people to take out loans, we are dismayed that First Hawaiian chose to promote families going into debt to send their 5-year-olds to private elementary schools. This is a disturbing message that even those who are in the highest level of policy-making in our public school system know that sending their children to a private school is the “best” thing they can do for them. A sad commentary on public education in our state.
February 14, 2017
Posted by: Kate Righter
Posted In: Membership Updates
PPS – HI members joined about 6,000 teachers in rallying at the Hawaii State Capitol for higher pay and more teacher support. Board member Clare Hanusz and public school student Brennan Connolly gave a great speech, and our organization also went up to the Governors office to deliver a letter in support of the teachers: higher pay, reduced testing, installing more air conditioning, and fully fund our public schools! Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table to say hi, enjoy snacks, and make signs.
February 11, 2017
Posted by: Kate Righter
February 13, 2017
The Honorable Governor David Y. Ige
Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Executive Chambers, State Capitol
Honolulu, HI 96813
Dear Governor Ige:
Parents for Public Schools of Hawai‘i (PPS Hawai‘i) is a 6-year-old 501c(3) non-profit, mostly volunteer organization of approximately 800 members. We are focused on engaging parents of children in public schools and other community members to support enriched and quality public education in our State. In 2010, we were here at the Governor’s office, protesting the Furlough Friday crisis.
Today, PPS Hawai‘i members are here to support our public school teachers. When asked what they love most about our schools, our members uniformly respond that it is their children’s teachers. Parents for Public Schools of Hawai‘i believes that teachers must be paid a living wage that allows them to focus on the children in their classrooms and to do the best job possible to educate the future generation of our State. Unfortunately, many teachers struggle financially to afford to live in Hawai‘i. Some work second jobs, and 10 percent leave the profession each year, creating a shortage of quality teachers. Families with children in public schools know all too well that having a substitute teacher or worse, a series of substitute teachers, never makes up for a dedicated and certified teacher in our children’s classrooms. We value our public school teachers and urge you and other State leaders to stand behind them, as we do.
In addition to support of our teachers, our members urge State leaders to:
1. Listen and respond to the voices of families in public education.
2. Given the negative impact of our record private school attendance, prioritize parents of public school students for BOE, DOE and legislative education leadership.
3. Increase authentic opportunities for family and community engagement.
4. Emphasize the whole child. Bring back the arts, music, and physical education. Promote creativity for students and teachers. Value socio-emotional learning. Provide high quality afterschool programs that develop the whole child.
5. Reduce high-stakes testing. Families feel that children are tested too much. The emphasis on standardized testing has created a stressful environment and has reduced time for other areas that are not tested. We urge application for Hawai‘i’s participation in the ESSA Authentic Assessment Pilot Program.
6. Create universal pre-K public education.
7. Improve school facilities and cool classrooms.
8. Analyze various tax and other revenue sources to adequately fund the public schools.
We look forward to partnering with you to support public education in our State!
Lois Yamauchi, PhD
President, Parents for Public Schools of Hawai’i
Parents for Public Schools Hawaii (PPSHI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization of parents, community members, and educators working to improve and support public education through family engagement. We are committed to ensuring all children in Hawai’i have access to a quality public education.
January 29, 2017
Posted by: PPSHI
In addition to listening and learning from the parents and staff that we meet in our programs, at PPS Hawaii we go one step further. We seek to engage parent and community members to join us in taking direct action to influence policy in schools and statewide.
These actions include:
• Giving testimony online and in person at hearings and public meetings
• Participation in groups such as HE’E, the Hui for Excellence in Education
• Participating in rallies, such as the upcoming HSTA rally on Monday, February 13 at 11am
• Meeting directly with decision makers to educate them on the concerns of families and students
• Sharing information about issues related to public education in person, on social media, and other avenues
The key education issues we are focusing on in 2017 include:
Increase Teacher Salary
– This is a high priority. Over 10,000 students do not have a qualified teacher in the classroom in Hawaii. This is a statewide crisis, and to solve it, we need to elevate the position of teachers in our society. We need to pay our teachers a competitive wage so it’s an attractive job for people to go into and stay in.
-We are wasting time and resources on toxic testing. It is harmful to teachers and students. Parents know it, the students know it, the community knows it, and the research shows it. We need to find a better way to assess our students and schools.
Whole Child Education
-A single-minded focus on testing has meant a loss in visual arts, music, and physical education, to the detriment of the physical, mental, and emotional health of our students.
Expand public preschool for four year olds
-We need to fully fund the Executive Office of Early Learning in order to continue to make progress in expanding public preschool options across the state.
-Air conditioning. Maintenance and repairs. Funding charter school facilities. This is basic stuff. It needs to happen.
Increased family and community engagement in schools
Hawaiian language and cultural education
Support for after school programs
Paid family leave
October 21, 2016
Posted by: Kate Righter
Posted In: School News
Washington Middle School was the first school where PPS HI held tours and transition nights, back in 2012. The purpose of these events are twofold: to help prepare parents for the changes that their child will be experiencing, and also to encourage parents to visit our local middle and intermediate schools to see all the great things that are happening on these campuses. Now, we hope that all the parents of Hawaii are able to recognize the great things happening in Washington Middle School with the concurrence of two awards given this month: Sung Man Park was named Hawaii’s 2017 State Teacher of the Year, and Michael Harano was named as the 2017 National Distinguished Principal.
Congratulations to both and we look forward to years of continuing to collaborate with this great school!
Links to articles:
Governor’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Team invites students, Teachers, Principals, Vice Principals, School Staff Members, Parents, Community Members, and all who are interested in supporting public education in Hawaii. The purpose of these community forums is to:
(1) share input and feedback received from town hall meetings
(2) share a working draft outline for a new blueprint for public education in Hawaii,
(3) to collect more specific input, feedback, and advice for a final version of a blueprint for education in Hawaii.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 HILO HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 BALDWIN HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 6, 2016 CAMPBELL HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY 6:00 p.m. to 8:00p.m.
Thursday, October 20, 2016 MILILANI HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY 6:00 p.m. to 8:00p.m.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 KAHUKU HIGH & INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL LIBRARY 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 MOANALUA HIGH SCHOOL LIBRARY 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
October 3, 2016
Posted by: Kate Righter
Posted In: Events
On Sunday, volunteers from CESA joined PPS-HI board members at the Children and Youth Day event at the Hawaii State Capital. We collected responses for our 1000 Family Voices cards from parents, students, educators, and community members, and had coloring pages for kids to think about things they like about their school and family. We also talked with those that visited about their hopes and worries for the future of our public schools. It was a busy day and we were happy to be a part of it!
September 3, 2016
Posted by: Kate Righter
Posted In: Membership Updates
PPS Hawai‘i is a mostly volunteer organization that collaborates to support and improve public education by increasing family engagement. This month of September, we are asking you to donate to PPS Hawai‘i through Foodland’s Give Aloha campaign. Our Give Aloha number is 78839.
For five years, PPS Hawai‘i has supported family engagement through direct activities with public school families and advocated for family- and child-centered policies. We continue to offer our popular middle school transition events, now serving families in Honolulu, Kailua, Kane‘ohe, Wai‘anae, and in Kea‘au and Pahoa on Hawai‘i island.
This year, our new Parent Engagement Program (PEP) assists parents at Kalakaua, Kea‘au, and Honoka‘a Middle Schools to gain knowledge about their schools, including how to make sense of school data, curricula, and policies. PEP promotes family members’ leadership and advocacy skills, as they plan and implement projects to improve their schools through small grants that we fund.
PPS Hawai‘i has been collaborating with the Governor’s ESSA Task Force and other policymakers to advocate for less testing in the schools and has worked to support efforts to cool our classrooms and promote development of the “whole child” through music, art, and physical education.
Please make a donation to PPS Hawai‘i through Foodland’s Give Aloha program. You can do so by visiting any Foodland store throughout September, using your Maika‘i card, and referencing our number 78839. Through this program, you may donate up to a cumulative total of $249 per organization.
We are a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation is fully tax-deductible. Foodland will match a portion of all donations that we receive through this campaign. Your donation will help us continue to improve and support public education and bring the voice of families to decision making about our schools.
Mahalo for your support!
For more information, visit their website: http://www.foodland.com/our-community/give-aloha