Wednesday, July 23, 2014         

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School superintendent's contract renewed

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 06:35 p.m. HST, Jun 03, 2014

The state Board of Education approved a new three-year contract for public schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi Tuesday, but will require her to report back about what is being done to address concerns raised in a scathing independent survey of school principals.

The board, which hadn't launched a search for replacement, appeared ready to extend Matayoshi's tenure at its monthly board meeting.

But before going behind closed doors to take action on the superintendent's contract, the board heard testimony from retired public school principal Darrel Galera and UH law professor Randy Roth, who along with other retired principals released a survey last month that found an overwhelming majority of principals say they lack the needed support and autonomy to act in the best interests of their schools. The principals said they hesitate to speak out for fear of retaliation.

The school leaders also said their ability to make decisions at the school level has been stymied by "top-down" management by the Department of Education, and that sweeping academic reforms the state pledged for its federal Race to the Top grant have dragged down morale at their schools.

Roth said the survey results deserve attention from the department before any decision on the superintendent post.

"I don't think you can make a decision that will be respected by the public unless the superintendent has shared with the public generally and with the principals and teachers in particular, her thoughts and concerns about the recent principals' survey," Roth said.

Board members assured Galera, who administered the survey using principals' personal emails, that they were taking the concerns seriously.

"We've heard the message," Chairman Don Horner said. "We do take this information very seriously."

A salary has not yet been determined. A bill awaiting the governor's signature would raise the potential salary for the position to $250,000 from $150,000. A $150,000 statutory cap -- set by lawmakers in 2001 -- has kept Mata-yo-shi's salary at that level the past three years, while at least two school principals earn more than she does.

Matayoshi current contract expires June 30.

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localguy wrote:
UH Manoa had a chance to start with a fresh new president and balked, going with a career bureaucrat. State BOE also had the chance to start a clean slate, and followed the UH BoR's failure by going with the same ole same ole. Lets see, our K-12 and UH Manoa both rate around the 45-50 range out of the 50 states. Does anyone see a pattern? Nei DNA is afraid to change. Mediocrity is the standard.
on June 3,2014 | 06:43PM
magicman1433 wrote:
Exactly...another vote for mediocrity...Funny how she could be rated "exceptional" with so much discontent with & within the DOE...What did she do that made her "exceptional"?
on June 3,2014 | 07:13PM
localguy wrote:
BoE should have hired her on a yearly contract, following UH example. This way when they finally realize she can't do the job, only have to put up with her for one year at a time.
on June 3,2014 | 08:57PM
HiNaihe808 wrote:
How many public positions does Don Horner have? Does this guy sleep?
on June 3,2014 | 11:44PM
false wrote:
There is a hui collecting on EES IT investments for data management. Must be 10 at the top collecting on the RTTT $75 million. How much went to evaluation data system development? How many product demos did we watch and never saw the one selected. Interesting. The way the system works is "old boy" plantation politics still in control. Evaluation system doesn't measure how much you have "play ball" to stay alive in the DOE. It's obviously working really well. But who's paying attention.
on June 4,2014 | 12:33PM
pcman wrote:
The low standard of the BOE as reflected in rehiring Matayoshi reflects their attitude in not trying to raise the standards of of Hawaii's children in school and graduation. Of course, what do thay care. Most of the members of the BOE sent their children to private schools so they could care less about the effects of more of Matayoshi's ineptitude and incompetence. The Gov is responsible for appointing all of the members of the BOE, so he needs to replace the members who cannot raise the standards of the public schools. Vote in a new Gov who is up to the challenge.
on June 3,2014 | 07:07PM
waianae94 wrote:
It should be a law that all lawmakers and BOE/DOE people send their kids to a public school.
on June 3,2014 | 09:02PM
LKK56 wrote:
Waianae94 - I agree with you, provided the law requires all Hawaii residents to vacation only at Hawaii hotels and Hawaii residents cannot leave the State to go on vacation - you can only vacation in Hawaii.
on June 3,2014 | 10:20PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
Your point eludes me. Can you elucidate?
on June 4,2014 | 04:38PM
HiNaihe808 wrote:
on June 3,2014 | 11:44PM
Imagen wrote:
on June 5,2014 | 01:48PM
sleepingdog wrote:
If, as BOE Chair Don Horner says, BOE members were taking the survey results "very seriously," the BOE would have delayed the decision on extending the contract. The BOE would have done what Randy Roth said, which is for the Superintendent to share "with the public generally and with the principals and teachers in particular, her thoughts and concerns about the recent principals' survey." Lack of confidence in the Superintendent by principals must not be very serious to the BOE. At least they have high standards for something.
on June 3,2014 | 07:52PM
kiragirl wrote:
How can a survey carry much weight?
on June 3,2014 | 10:35PM
Galatians52223 wrote:
This is real data. It's the most authentic data the DOE has. Everyone in the DOE knows this is true. The DOE fixes up their data to look good. Example - Inflated graduation rates http://www.civilbeat.com/2013/10/graduation-data-flaws-force-hawaii-doe-to-adjust-scores/
on June 3,2014 | 11:01PM
agile wrote:
As a lower level DOE employee I can tell you they're right in their fear of speaking out bec. of retaliation. That comes w/working for DOE. You either go along w/popular opinion, even if wrong, or risk your position. And DOE is well known for its "independent investigations" being anything but!
on June 3,2014 | 07:52PM
kiragirl wrote:
on June 3,2014 | 10:34PM
HD36 wrote:
There's no way out of this money pit but to vote with your feet.
on June 3,2014 | 08:11PM
danji wrote:
What has she done. I don't see any improvement in our education system. Is there any accolades I have not heard of. Come on hope she does not get a pay raise until she or someone can prove she deserve one with accomplishments that we can see. Getting a pay raise cause others in her position gets more she has not done anything that warrants a raise. As in all other admin position in government we just reward people for mediocrity and takes a pat on the back for what the teacher accomplish.
on June 3,2014 | 08:24PM
walrus808 wrote:
I think her major achievement was getting a raise, that's about all I can see.
on June 4,2014 | 02:30PM
Imagen wrote:
As with all civil service employees; let's just do the 10 things on this list within my working hours of 8 - 2:30. BUT, if for some reason, these tasks are not completed, well there is always ... TOMORROW.
on June 5,2014 | 01:50PM
makiki123 wrote:
Another failed attorney that takes the money of taxpayers for being a BUREAUCRAT in the truest sense. Has done nothing and gets a new contract. What a joke. That's the way to teach our kids that mediocrity in government jobs pays off.
on June 3,2014 | 08:50PM
dontbelieveinmyths wrote:
"We've heard the message," Chairman Don Horner said. "We do take this information very seriously." No you didn't and no you don't. Nothing will change.
on June 3,2014 | 08:52PM
Galatians52223 wrote:
on June 3,2014 | 10:48PM
orchids wrote:
That's what happens when you have an appointed BOE. As long as they are in good graces with the governor, their decisions will not get them booted out. Matayoshi should have never been appointed as the superintendent, much less reappointed. If she had any integrity, she should let the public know what her teaching experience has been at the elementary, middle school or high school levels (if she has any experience at all).
on June 3,2014 | 09:10PM
HaoleGuy wrote:
I am disappointed in the BOE. I thought that this group of intelligent people would pause and think about what they are being presented with in regards to what is happening at the school level. I will not attack them personally, but I feel they have made a huge mistake.
on June 3,2014 | 09:20PM
mike96816 wrote:
The first problem is that Ms. Matayoshi doesn't have a background in public education, and is unqualified to be school superintendent. She's also a terrible leader of the public school system. Problem number two is that Don Horner, who may very well be a decent individual, is nonetheless an appointed stooge of the governor. So are the other appointees on the school board. This board should be abolished. If all they're going to do is bow down to the governor and follow his lead, why continue on with this farce. Does anyone think this is an independent board? With Matayoshi's reappointment, the only thing that is going to change is that the moral within the ranks of the DOE will further deteriorate. If Ms. Matayoshi had any decency, she would resign when her term expires at the end of June.
on June 3,2014 | 09:26PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Doesn't anybody have anything good to say about Kathryn? There's got to be a pony somewhere in all the azunga?
on June 3,2014 | 09:56PM
Glassy_eye wrote:
When Matayoshi said tonight that she was concerned "that there might even be a fear of retaliation" among the principals for speaking out, I'm pretty sure those outspoken principals cringed. She is the very one who has created this climate of fear by pulling high performing principals out of their schools and placing them on administrative leave. Months pass by without even an allegation of wrongdoing. Somebody needs to ask her exactly how many current employees she has placed on leave using this authority. The purpose of "administrative leave" was to quickly pull an employee accused of some serious on-going offense while the accusation is immediately investigated. It was never intended as a means for the Superintendent to remove outspoken critics from their positions. Matayoshi has created a climate of intimidation in the DOE and, with her renewed contract, it will be worse tomorrow than it was yesterday.
on June 3,2014 | 10:42PM
localguy wrote:
The fact Matayoshi mentioned retaliation shows she is the problem. Fresh, new, untainted leadership is needed to remove the cloud hanging over our schools. Looks like she is acting like a bully versus a true leader. Perhaps time to resign. Or this could be the perfect job for the General. Managing people like Matayoshi would not be a problem for him. She would be towing the line in no time.
on June 3,2014 | 11:12PM
kaiakea wrote:
Although this incident happened under Matayoshi, the problem goes much further than just one leader. The issue is the climate within the whole organization that is the way things are done in the DOE, and have been done for a lot longer than anyone presently in the system has been in it.
on June 4,2014 | 12:00PM
kulanakai wrote:
How the principals feel about Matayoshi is exactly the way the teachers feel about principals. They feel that if they say anything they will be retaliated against. They have no voice but are expected to perform with no resources to achieve the results.
on June 3,2014 | 11:59PM
soundofreason wrote:
No voice? Maybe you could explain that whole teacher "union" thing to me again.
on June 4,2014 | 12:57AM
kulanakai wrote:
HSTA is a load of crap. They are in it for itself and not for the betterment of teachers or a teaching career. The executive director is paid a hefty sum to let Wil Omabe be his beard. All of the other unions have staunch representation by their executive directors (Musto, Perreira). They do not represent the interests of the teachers.
on June 4,2014 | 09:20AM
kaiakea wrote:
The reality is that teachers do not scamper to the union every time there is a problem. Doing so invites retaliation in ways that the union cannot protect against unless it gets very serious. So teachers cannot get too uppity even with the protections of the union. This is my experience after over 20 years in the system, several of those as school level rep.
on June 4,2014 | 11:57AM
kaiakea wrote:
SPED in the public schools has suffered under Matayoshi. Although she is only one piece of the puzzle, she is an important one. Training is still non-existent even though it was ordered under Felix. Identification rates are down because the word has been put out to hold off on or tweak evals and re-evals. The HSTA committee on SPED is finding systemic problems across the board. Attorneys are speaking publicly about another class-action. If Matayoshi doesn't know the real situation, she should have known. She gets perhaps an A for effort, but an F for accomplishments.
on June 4,2014 | 12:08PM
Imagen wrote:
@kaiakea: by giving her a A for effort was very generous. I would have given her an N/C: No Credit for nothing done!
on June 5,2014 | 01:54PM
earlson wrote:
Hawaii politics is so screwed up. They always ignore the people on the front line who actually know what's going on. In this case the teachers.
on June 4,2014 | 02:20PM
hywnsytl wrote:
You can never start clean when the BOE and BOR are all cronnies. This is why Hawaii Public school kids are stuck in the cycle of poverty and low wages. While board members send their kids to private schools.
on June 4,2014 | 02:36PM
gmejk wrote:
Gotta love the comment by Matayoshi in the print edition: "But when you look at the salaries, it's a a little depressing to be $150,000 or $200,000 below your colleagues in other states." I thought she was in it for the kids and not for the money? It's actually ALL about the money!!!!! Good attitude Matayoshi.
on June 4,2014 | 06:05PM
Imagen wrote:
True colors!
on June 5,2014 | 01:55PM
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