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Feds keep Hawaii school reform grant on 'high-risk' status

By Mary Vorsino

LAST UPDATED: 04:33 p.m. HST, May 04, 2012

Race to the Top letter

The state's $75 million Race to the Top grant will remain on "high-risk" status for at least five more months, the U.S. Department of Education told the governor today.

The U.S. DOE noted that while Hawaii has taken steps "in the right direction to address a number of concerns," more time is needed to determine whether Hawaii can make good on its ambitious education reform pledges.

"Due to the preliminary nature of most of these activities and the lack of necessary sustaining conditions for reform, the department has determined that Hawaii has not yet demonstrated that it has made the substantial progress across its Race to the Top plan necessary to remove high-risk status," said Ann Whalen, U.S. DOE director of policy and program implementation, in a letter to the governor today.

Whalen did say that to recognize the progress Hawaii has made, the U.S. DOE will allow the state to again spend money from the federal grant, rather than using state money and seeking reimbursement later.

Hawaii leaders say significant progress on Race to the Top efforts has been made since December, when the grant was placed on high-risk status because of the slow pace of reforms.

A federal team visited the state in March to conduct a review of Hawaii's Race efforts. Hawaii is the only Race state whose grant has been deemed high risk.

Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said the U.S. DOE "acknowledged Hawaii has taken steps in the right direction."

"We will continue to move forward on all of our deliverables," she said, in a news release. "A transformational change is taking place in Hawaii's public schools. This change is focused on creating a better learning environment to boost student achievement."

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LRC wrote:
And yet the governor won't strike a new deal with HSTA! That's probably one of the key points why they didn't drop our high risk status!!!
on May 4,2012 | 01:40PM
Invested wrote:
LRC..I agree that is the main reason.
on May 4,2012 | 02:40PM
Anonymous wrote:
Yup, time for a change....of governor's. He should offer teachers a better deal than his LBFO to save the RTTT $$$$.
on May 4,2012 | 05:53PM
lee1957 wrote:
The gov did strike a deal, it was called the last best final offer. Takes two to tango, so every time the gov gets brushed, brush the teachers.
on May 4,2012 | 06:59PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I figure the chances of Hawaii getting this money are about the same as Kailua getting the next dump.
on May 4,2012 | 01:50PM
Changalang wrote:
It is a lock. Time to grab all one can before the spigot is turned off in November by the next Congress; gridlock as far as the eye can see.
on May 4,2012 | 04:21PM
Invested wrote:
"U.S. DOE will allow the state to again spend money from the federal grant, rather than using state money" ...how much of the $75 million has already been spent? I would guess around $20 25 million...the DOE dept. to manage the grand has been in operation for a year....so it would be more accurate to report that the remaining money is at stake...they've already spent some of it.
on May 4,2012 | 02:38PM
Changalang wrote:
Thanks for the bucks; sorry, we'll try harder. Moving on. :)
on May 4,2012 | 03:36PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Or as the public school students say: Fahk, I can haz cheesburger?
on May 4,2012 | 04:32PM
Changalang wrote:
Actually, since the food budget got modified to lower cost healthy, a much higher percentage bring home lunch. That in itself shows the students are getting smarter and learning to adapt and overcome in their environment. :)
on May 4,2012 | 04:56PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Yeah, I noticed how slender the average kid has become. From behind its like watching two buta fighting under a futon.
on May 4,2012 | 06:00PM
Changalang wrote:
Maybe the City Council should ban white rice next.
on May 4,2012 | 07:01PM
Anonymous wrote:
cheeseburger made of pink slime...
on May 4,2012 | 05:57PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Even the kid in the Imua Rail commercial which has reached 24/7 365 status is a pork chop. An ethnically ambiguous pork chop. Who rides the Bus "for hours" (where the heck she going?) to better her future which, sadly, will be squandered to pay for the Frankentrain.
on May 4,2012 | 06:02PM
lee1957 wrote:
The Feds are being waaaaay to polite in not dumping this. There hasn't been progress up till now, and there won't be by the next deadline.
on May 4,2012 | 06:57PM
localguy wrote:
How many times does the Nei have to suffer from clueless state bureaucrats willfully failing to do the job they are paid for? I think we need to pass a law saying if they can't do what we pay them for they will be immediately fired. We cannot continue to suffer from their incompetence. If we loose this money all responsible bureaucrats should be immediately terminated, never again to hold a public office or ever work for the city or state, having already proven their incompetence. This is what they do.
on May 4,2012 | 09:06PM
my_opinion_only wrote:
Here's where some of the lusted-after RTTT money is going... http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hawaii-department-education-selects-houghton-140000099.html http://www.schoolsynergy.org/ourclients.asp Contractors/ consultants/ advisors/ vendors.... ....they click on this DOE-link and enter our statel-Lottery: http://hawaiidoereform.org/RTTT-Vendors Meanwhile, no reduction in class size, no additional aides, no additional tutors, no music teachers, no art teachers, no money for excursions, no new books for the library, no new materials for the classroom..... It's Sad.
on May 4,2012 | 09:36PM
my_opinion_only wrote:
Directly from the DOE website -- "Overview: Hawaii’s application for $75 million in Race to the Top funds specified the need for vendors to assist in implementing various education initiatives outlined in its reform plan. Vendors may include, but are not limited to, education institutions (colleges and universities), non-profit and for-profit entities that have the necessary experience, organization, technical qualifications, skills, and facilities.  Professional development and technical assistance programs offered must be grounded in scientifically-based research to increase student achievement.  The Process: Hawaii is working on a process to identify vendors to assist schools through the Race to The Top grant.  More information will be forthcoming. All Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) offices and schools using Race to the Top grant funds for related services will be required to use vendors from a HIDOE approved list or to procure services via a Request for Proposal (RFP) or contract for services.The application process may be opened annually/semi-annually for the purpose of including new vendors each year. Sign Up: To receive information about Hawaii’s Race to the Top Vendor Process, please fill out the form below."
on May 4,2012 | 09:50PM
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