(This article is reprinted from the HSTA website)

Former teacher, parents group leader call for higher teacher salaries

Michal Nowiki, who taught in Hawaii public schools for nine years, testified in favor of the teacher pay proposal. He last taught at UH Lab school, where he chaired the math department.

“My last year, in 2018, I made the difficult decision to leave education because the entire math department quit, and they went into teaching, just in private schools. I made the difficult decision to leave Hawaii,” to work outside of education, Nowiki said.

Now he’s working two different jobs outside of teaching in Hawaii.

“I’m making 50 percent more than I was as a teacher. I am working way fewer hours and I have a flexible schedule. This is infuriating and frustrating because I would like to have stayed in the classroom,” said Nowiki.

Deborah Bond-Upson, a longtime board member of Parents for Public Schools of Hawaii, which represents 1,200 public school parents. She’s also the founder of the Fund Our Hawaii Schools Coalition.

“We’ve all heard that (teachers) really need five years to come up that steep angle to get to your effectiveness level. But studies show that teachers get yet more effective beyond the five-year point,” Bond-Upson said.

“We believe our keiki deserve teachers who have experience. And they certainly must have teachers that are qualified in every classroom. So we ask to find ways to fund the important two parts of this bill,” Bond-Upson added.