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Hawaii gets approval for education law waiver

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:58 p.m. HST, May 20, 2013

The Obama administration approved Hawaii's request for a waiver from provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

In 2011, the administration announced it would let states avoid certain requirements, like students showing they're proficient in reading and math by 2014, if other conditions were met. Those conditions included states imposing their own standards to prepare students for college and careers and setting evaluation standards for teachers and principals.

Critics of No Child Left Behind call it a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach to education.

Hawaii is calling their redesigned plan, Strive HI Performance System. Now that the school year is coming to an end, the district will work with complex area superintendents and principals over the summer to implement the system in the fall.

Hawaii Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said today's approval will help focus on college and career readiness, rewarding high-performing schools and customizing student support.

Hawaii created zones in remote, hard-to-staff, low-performing schools that serve the largest population of Native Hawaiian and poor students. The zones in Waianae in Oahu and in the Kau, Keaau and Pahoa areas of the Big Island are targeted for reforms under Hawaii's $75 million Race to the Top grant.

The U.S. Department of Education says it has approved waiver requests from 37 states and the District of Columbia so far.

Hawaii education officials said they will use multiple methods to measure school performance, instead of relying on the No Child Left Behind's "Adequate Yearly Progress," which is based mostly on reading and math test scores. Hawaii will measure success with data, including state reading and math scores, science assessments, chronic absenteeism and college enrollment.

Under Hawaii's newly approved system, each school is accountable for meeting customized goals.

An element of the waiver includes implementing teacher evaluations and the Hawaii State Teachers Association will be paying close attention to how that happens, said Al Nagasako, the union's executive director. "We want to make sure teachers are involved every step of the way as they develop guidelines for that," he said.

The state Department of Education said No Child Left Behind forced schools to include accountability of student subgroups that don't fully reflect Hawaii's student population.

"We are proud of the work happening at every level of Hawaii's public education system to prepare students for real-world demands and provide better data, tools and support to students, educators and schools," Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe said. "Now, with approval of the Strive HI Performance System, we've unlocked the potential of all these efforts to work together in a coherent way to support success."

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard recently visited some of the zone schools to see the progress being made. "For six years, national education reform has been in a holding pattern," she said Monday. "Our students, teachers and administrators have waited for too long and deserve to have the flexibility to pursue Hawaii-developed reforms now."

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allie wrote:
That law turned out to be worthless
on May 20,2013 | 01:21PM
false wrote:
You allie, you should be quiet when you have no knowledge of what you are talking about. This design allows students to be regarded from several data points. Students come in all qualities and while they may not meet a bar in one form, they make tremendous gains in other arena. We are moving students to stretch to meet the future and in all cases we have differentiate for their needs and talents. Everyone on your reservation makes the mark in every way. Congratulations. Wish you find your way home. Surely your wisdom is missed.
on May 20,2013 | 04:54PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Under the US constitution, education is the responsibility of each state. The feds had no constitutional authority to pass No Child Left Behind or any other education law and the state did not need a waiver to do what it is authorized to do by the constitution. The federal government needs to mind its own business and stick to its principle function under the constitution, that being national defense. If it did so, the country would be a much better place than it now is.
on May 20,2013 | 02:54PM
kauai wrote:
Sounds like more "dumbing down" of tests/standards. The state DOE "dumbed down" the tests at least once before. Now they're "dumbing down" the entire standard. What a joke.
on May 20,2013 | 03:20PM
SandBar wrote:
What good is a law if it doesn't apply to everyone?
on May 20,2013 | 04:53PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Ooooh! We have a new name for the latest "plan". "Strive HI Performance System" ....cough...(bs, bs, bs)...cough....
on May 20,2013 | 05:16PM
frontman wrote:
Now Hawaii kids are really in deep kim chee. They will be 49 out of 50 in less than a year, and you can take that to the welfare rolls.
on May 20,2013 | 05:46PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
The DOE Can't meet the requirements of the law so they applied for a waiver to water down the math and english requirements. Hawaii's school system is an embarrassment, we need to fire ALL DOE administrators and hire someone who knows how to run a large school system. Our current administration is inept, wasteful and resistant to change. The unions run the DOE and like the status quo "No Accountability" system of no one to blame.
on May 20,2013 | 08:30PM
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