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U.S. lauds state's 'Race to the Top' turnaround

By Nanea Kalani

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:54 p.m. HST, Mar 18, 2014


U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday lauded Hawaii's public school system for progress made in the third year of its four-year $75 million Race to the Top grant, calling Hawaii a model for other states.

The praise marks a sharp turnaround from a year ago, when Hawaii's grant was still partially flagged for the state's slow progress in achieving goals in its aggressive reform plan.

Hawaii won the Race money in 2010 after pledging sweeping education reforms, including plans to turn around its lowest-performing schools, boost student achievement and improve teacher and principal effectiveness.

The U.S. Department of Education had placed Hawaii's prize on "high-risk" status in December 2011, citing concerns about whether the state's promised reforms could be met. Officials warned at the time that Hawaii's "unsatisfactory performance" could jeopardize its funding. The warning label was partially lifted in February 2013 and completely removed last summer.

"When we originally gave (Hawaii) the Race to the Top grant, lots of folks really doubted our judgment there, thought there was no way they could be successful," Duncan told reporters Tuesday on an embargoed conference call.

Duncan continued, "They absolutely initially struggled. There were conversations whether we were going to have to start to pull money back or withhold money, and they've just shown amazing leadership and in a relatively short amount of time made huge progress both on system-level changes" and student achievement.

Year 3 progress reports for the 11 states and the District of Columbia that won Race grants totaling nearly $4 billion in 2010 were released Tuesday evening.

Hawaii's progress report credits the state for taking "key steps toward ensuring that all of the state's educators are equipped with the resources they need and students are prepared to be successful in college and careers."

"The third-year report is a testament to the remarkable efforts of our educators in meeting elevated expectations," Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said in a statement. "As we head into the final months of the grant, we continue our commitment to put into place systems and practices that will keep our students successful in college, careers and community long after the grant ends.

Race to the Top was an important step in the transformation of our public school system and we are staying the course."

View full report here: http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/DOE%20Forms/RTTT/RTTTYear3.pdf







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kaiakea wrote:
Obviously Race to the Top has nothing to do with Special Education. If it did, Hawaii would receive an F. The system in this state is a shambles. Nobody is trained in the law governing SPED and the office and so-called professionals who are supposed to provide it are negligent at best. Students with special needs are not being identified and the ones who have been are not having their educational and mental health needs being addressed. What we need is Seitz to follow through on his threat to bring another class action and get federal court oversight so we don't lose any more of our precious children to mental illness, crime, drugs, and death.
on March 18,2014 | 06:32PM
false wrote:
This must be a joke...
on March 18,2014 | 07:03PM
Cleodog wrote:
I am a retired DOE teacher and I just reviewed the 30 page report which was prepared by a legion of bureaucrats. Charts, graphs, and plenty of jargon. In short--- a state, any state, is simply too big to effectively operate a school system. The Honolulu=based Board of Education has no idea what goes on and is too far removed to make changes. I do not put much credence in this report, and no matter how you put it, "you can't make do-do shine."
on March 18,2014 | 07:41PM
false wrote:
Cleodog, thanks for verifying the "smoke and mirrors" routines of the DOE and RTTT. You put it so well. Soon to join the status you are enjoying. Beat enough by the system for the benefit of hierarchy above. Reality of the classroom and student population is described well by the stats for does not meet proficiency. Can't fudge those statistics and the students represented.
on March 19,2014 | 09:40AM
HAL9000 wrote:
Mistakes, I could not agree with you more. I know of a special education teacher Who was prevented from ordering a pencil sharpener and electric stalker replacement for For a stalker that was 11 years old for his special education students. Special ed students don't need pencil S carpenters nor electric stalkers, but 5 other teachers were able to order electric Stapkers s and electric pencil sharpeners. Any where in the mainland that would be called discrimination, and the Complex superintendent let the principal get away with it. This is on Maui.
on March 18,2014 | 09:47PM
thos wrote:
“I am a retired DOE teacher”

Ditto.

Your comment is right on the money (no pun intended.) DOE is the province of desk driving, non teaching, power point consuming, paper shuffling, upwardly mobile edu-crats who no little of the challenges facing classroom teachers and care even less what happens to children trapped in this bubbling caldron of dysfunction.

‘Race to the Top’ is a classic example of the intrusive use of federal tax dollars to further weaken public education and harm students - - the insatiable bureaucrat lust for more funding has completely eclipsed any real chance of academic improvement.


on March 18,2014 | 10:30PM
thos wrote:
“I am a retired DOE teacher”

D i t t o.

Your comment is right on the money (no pun intended.) DOE is the province of desk driving, non teaching, power point consuming, paper shuffling, upwardly mobile edu-crats who no little of the challenges facing classroom teachers and care even less what happens to children trapped in this bubbling caldron of dysfunction.

‘Race to the Top’ is a classic example of the intrusive use of federal tax dollars to further weaken public education and harm students - - the insatiable bureaucrat lust for more funding has completely eclipsed any real chance of academic improvement.


on March 19,2014 | 06:26AM
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