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.