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New York-Based Education Super PAC Registers in Hawaii

"Education Reform Now Advocacy" is affiliated with the national nonprofit Democrats for Education Reform.

·By Alia Wong

The New York City-based independent expenditure committee “Education Reform Now Advocacy” registered today with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission.

With just a week to go before the Nov. 4 election, it’s unclear what local issue or candidate the committee is focusing on. The only report available online is the group’s organizational report, which states the committee has ties to Democrats for Education Reform.

Students at the Hawaiian immersion charter school Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

The committee’s chairman is Patrick van Keerbergen, DFER’s political director and a longtime political organizer

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Schatz Endorses Preschool Ballot Campaign

The campaign is advocating for Question No. 4, which would allow the state to spending public funding on private preschool programs.

·By Alia Wong

Sen. Brian Schatz is publicly supporting the campaign to pass a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to use public funds to pay for private preschool programs.

The Good Beginning Alliance campaign — “Yes on 4″ — already has the support of a range of business groups, private preschool providers and Native Hawaiian advocacy organizations. It’s been raising and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Advocates say the passage of Question No. 4 is key to expanding access to preschool for more of the state’s 4-year-olds. They say it would allow the state

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Windward Community College Gets $9.9M for Native Hawaiians

The federal grant will support childcare and science, technology, engineering and math education.

·By Alia Wong

Windward Community College says it will develop a Hawaiian immersion childcare center and improve its science, technology, engineering and math programs with a new $9.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The grant, which lasts five years and is titled “Hanai a ulu: Feed and Grow—Nurturing student parents and STEM at Windward Community College,” is aimed at enhancing Native Hawaiian students’ success. Forty-two percent of the college’s students identify as Native Hawaiian.

Windward Community College will use its $9.9 million grant to support Native Hawaiian education.

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Big Bucks Going Into Preschool Ballot Initiative

The list of groups that have endorsed the constitutional amendment includes business coalitions, Native Hawaiian advocacy organizations and private tuition-based preschools.

·By Alia Wong

With less than three weeks to go before the general election, the campaign in support of a ballot initiative to allow the use of public money for private preschools is picking up steam — and doling out the big bucks.

Question No. 4 on the ballot asks voters whether the state can amend the constitution to allow the allocation of taxpayer dollars to private preschool programs as part of an initiative to expand early education in Hawaii. Four out of every 10 children miss out on preschool in Hawaii, in large part because tuition is too expensive

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UH Manoa Conducts First Massive Open Online Course

The course — Introduction to E-Learning — is offered in the College of Education.

·By Alia Wong

MOOCs are now making their way into the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

MOOCS, as in massive open online courses: a 2-year-old fad in higher education in which universities — including the likes of Stanford, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — offer online courses, often for free, to anyone who signs up.

It’s taken UH a while to hop on the bandwagon, but a UH Manoa College of Education course that launched this summer could be a harbinger of a new era of online learning in the state’s only public university system.

It’s

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$33M Released for UH Hilo College of Pharmacy Building

The funding was key to securing accreditation for the college, which as been operating out of portables and at two off-campus locations.

·By Alia Wong

Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, as acting governor, has released $33 million for the construction of a 35,000-square-foot facility for the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s College of Pharmacy.

That $33 million includes the $28 million in general obligation bonds and $5 million in revenue bonds that were approved by the 2014 Legislature.

Funding for the instructional and research building was key to ensuring the college’s accreditation remained in good standing.

A rendition of one of the labs that the College of Pharmacy’s new building will include.

UH Hilo

The college, which

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UH Student Affairs Exec Recommended as Maui College Chancellor

Lui Hokoana currently serves as vice chancellor for student affairs at UH West Oahu.

·By Alia Wong

A longtime University of Hawaii student affairs administrator has been recommended to be the next chancellor of UH Maui College.

Lui Hokoana currently serves as the vice chancellor for student affairs at UH West Oahu, a position he’s held since last year. Before that he was the associate vice president for student affairs for the entire university system and the vice chancellor for student affairs at Windward Community College. He’s also overseen various programs at Maui College, were he began his career at UH in 1991 as a counselor. 

Lui Hokoana

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Is the DOE’s New Performance System Skewed Toward Elementary Schools?

Not a single middle or high school performed well enough in the Strive HI accountability system to be eligible for cash rewards from the state.

·By Alia Wong

The Hawaii Department of Education recently announced that it’s awarding $230,000 to 15 schools that performed particularly well during the 2013-14 school year.

The system that measures schools’ success is called Strive HI — a new accountability framework that officials tout for its focus on dynamic measures of performance and growth rather than solely on test scores. Schools’ scores are based on an array of metrics that are customized to specific student populations, from chronic absenteeism to college-going rates.

The scores are categorized into five levels, with “Recognition” schools performing in the top 5 percent.

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Study: Hawaii the 5th Worst State for Teachers

The Aloha State ranked worst in the nation for average starting salaries and median annual salaries.

·By Alia Wong

Hawaii is one of the worst places in the country to work if you’re a teacher, according to a new study from WalletHub, a personal finance social network.

Overall, the Aloha State ranked fifth worst, according to WalletHub’s analysis of 18 metrics including topics such as salary, demographics, student-to-teacher ratio and commute time.

Hawaii’s worst scores — lists on which it ranked 51st — were for “Average Starting Salaries” and “Median Annual Salaries.” Both categories are adjusted for cost of living.

For Hawaii teachers, the starting salary (for those with a bachelor and training

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US Labor Dept Gives $10M to Hawaii Community Colleges

The grants aim to support job training programs in the IT and health care industries.

·By Alia Wong

The state’s seven community colleges are receiving nearly $10 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to support job-training programs in the information technology and health care industries.

All in all, the labor department is setting aside more than $450 million in grants this year to community colleges across the country — marking the last year of a four-year initiative that will have given schools $2 billion total.

The idea is to expand the capacity of community colleges to provide training in partnership with local employers.

Health aides, such

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Chemical Odor Sends 50 Honokaa Students, Staff to Hospital

Today's outbreak is the fifth such incident to affect Hawaii public schools over the past year.

·By Alia Wong

Honokaa Elementary and Honokaa High and Intermediate schools closed early today after a “strong chemical odor” sent 40 students and 10 adults from the high school to nearby medical centers, according to the Department of Education.

Those affected reported symptoms including nausea, dizziness and respiratory problems. There were no reports of medical issues at Honokaa Elementary, which is located across the street from the high school.

According to hazardous materials investigators, the odor was traced to a nearby resident who was using a mix of chemicals to spray his yard. Honokaa is located near Waimea on

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Record Number of Hawaii Public School Students Get AP Honors

The College Board gives "Scholar Awards" to students who earn exceptionally high scores on their Advanced Placement exams.

·By Alia Wong

A record 492 students from public schools across Hawaii have earned awards for exceptional achievement in their college-level Advanced Placement courses, according to the College Board, the company that administers the exams.

Students who perform well on their exams typically earn college credit or advanced placement in college courses. The ones who do exceptionally well also earn “AP Scholar Awards.” About 20 percent of the 2.1 million students who took AP exams last year performed at a level high enough to get those awards.

A high score on an AP