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Hawaii teachers union wants to meet with feds

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:31 a.m. HST, Mar 16, 2012

Hawaii's teachers union wants to meet with federal education officials who will visit in about two weeks to monitor the state's progress on Race to the Top reforms.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association plans to ask Hawaii's congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., for help getting face time with the federal Race to the Top team, which is expected to visit the week of March 26, said Wil Okabe, union president.

"We want time with the federal government to see what areas they have concerns about," Okabe said.

In December, the U.S. Department of Education admonished Hawaii for its "unsatisfactory" performance under the $75 million grant the state won last year in a high profile competition, saying it was placing the state under "high risk" status. State education officials have acknowledged struggling with timelines and the challenges of moving forward without a formalized union agreement.

The two sides had reached a conceptual agreement before Hawaii was announced as a winner to tie half of a teacher's evaluation to education gains made by students. But the union currently is embroiled in a prohibited practice complaint it lodged with the state labor relations board against the state. The union claims the state violated members' rights by implementing its "last, best and final" contract offer over the summer.

Union members in January rejected a proposal that would have paved the way for making progress on promised reforms but would have included an evaluation system teachers weren't comfortable with. Since then, the union has been gathering feedback from teachers about another proposal.

The union submitted a new proposal on Feb. 28, Okabe said, but is still waiting for a response from the governor. Okabe said the lack of a response is frustrating given Gov. Neil Abercrombie's urgency for a proposed contract after the previous proposal was shot down.

Okabe declined to detail the latest proposal.

"We have received their proposal, are in the process of reviewing it and will respond shortly," Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said Thursday. "We want to make sure we give it a thorough review." She could not say when the governor would have a response ready.

In preparation for the visit, a request has been made for a meeting that will include the state and the union, Dela Cruz said.

"It would be a great opportunity to have such a meeting as we work towards our Race to the Top goals," she said. "However, we do understand that this will have to be worked around the U.S. DOE representative's schedule."

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Highinthesierras wrote:
It is not teachers,, it is the UNION. Let's pass a Right to Work Law then we will see if even the teachers support the UNION. Choice is all American, taxation, aka dues, without it, is not.
on March 16,2012 | 06:45AM
false wrote:
Someone should be asking what the RTTT PD has to do with instruction? PD days were planned but no PD design established for the PD days. Where is the input from the ZOI about what the needs of the students are to design the appropriate PD for the teachers to deliver student acheivement? Data driven decision making comes from looking at the data. We made a PD calendar for RTTT and sent it for approval. One nightmare after another. HSTA should stop the rhetoric and join the 7 to 4 requirement and work on building professional esteem. Tired of being beat up, shoved down by the disconnect of the players at the top.
on March 16,2012 | 06:54AM
Oahuan wrote:
democrats and unions..............you deserve each other.
on March 16,2012 | 07:30AM
9ronboz wrote:
union goons
on March 16,2012 | 09:36AM
nitestalker3 wrote:
just another grandstand play by okabe. the feds have absolutely no business in negotiations between the state and the union and should keep their nose out of it. okabe is just looking for an excuse to avoid living up to the union's responsibilities and agreements. delay, delay, delay...that's all this is in an attempt to look good to union members so he can be reelected. best thing the union members could do is dump him and get a president in that looks out for union members, gets their input instead of running off by himself and working with the state in a spirit of cooperation instead of continual antagonism. i agree...let's get a right to work law for teachers and let them dump the stupid union which is not working for their benefit.
on March 16,2012 | 02:30PM
Steve96785 wrote:
I am not a member of HSTA, but have been teacher for the past 30 years in Hawaii. I don't like HSTA and do not support the concept of public employee unions. That said, HSTA is not at fault with regard to RTTT. Matayoshi made at least 3 references to ageements with HSTA in the grant application that did not exist, along with several other fraudulent claims. The union should have an opportunity to provide clear evidence of her fraud to the Feds. If there were agreements, where are the records of the meetings and discussions? Where are the Memoranda of Understanding? Since they do not exist, their absence should have been easily identified by the Feds before they gave the OK to Hawaii's application. At least now they will have an opportunity to demonstrate who has been hampering educational reform in this state.
on March 16,2012 | 10:25PM
false wrote:
Word is Matayoshi wants to run for office. Well this RTTT debacle will not speak well of her ability to orchestrate management of a system. What the DoE doesn't get is the responsibility to use data drive decision making. Their whims of fancy and political mastery interferes with decision making for the students. It plays out over and over again that to survive we have to be invisible, quiet and do what we need to do under the radar for students to succeed. That would be a book to write. How to survive the turn around RTTT.
on March 17,2012 | 06:15AM
nigelUV001 wrote:
The teachers should have the oppurtunity to deal with the federal government. Why go through the state with its "final offer" BS, when you can go directly to the source. Its all about educating the kids right?
on March 16,2012 | 04:07PM
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