The bills, SB683 and SB686, to create an additional source of revenue for Hawaii Public Schools failed to pass this legislative session. HSTA actively spoke and met with committees to promote these bills. PPS Hawai‘i testified in support of the need for increased funding for our public schools.
New construction funds for public schools were approved for the Department of Education to build a new East Kapolei Middle School, a new classroom building at Campbell High School on Oahu, and to complete classroom spaces in a new High School in Kihei, Maui, and to fund the initial phase to construct a new gym for Kapaa High School on Kauai. The State budget also includes funding for building renovations for Lanai High and Elementary School, as well as many other public school projects on each island.
SB423 passed. Schools will not be able to deny a student a meal for failure to pay while the student’s application for free or reduced lunch is being processed or 7 days after the student’s meal fund account balance is zero or negative.
The approved state budget includes funding for five new preschool classrooms in the 2018-2019 school year and 60 permanent positions for special education preschool teachers and educational assistants. HB936 passed making appropriations for the Executive Office of Early Learning (EOEL) to enter into contracts with third party providers for Family-Child Interaction Learning programs.
Funds included in the State Budget for Office of Hawaiian Education.
Funds included in the State Budget for the Office of Community Engagement.
June 20, 2017
Posted by: PPSHI
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 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.