Latest Articles

  • Hawaii Legislature Should Expand Preschool Programs

    · By Jonathan Gillentine

    Young children need a solid foundation in order to be successful learners, especially as they approach the age of kindergarten. Families and the community as a whole must ensure that preschool children have a strong foundation for learning, a foundation that supports their social, emotional, linguistic, physical, and cognitive development.

    While we have made gains as a state, there is much work to be done to prepare our youngest scholars. That is why it is important for the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 844 and its companion in the house, House Bill 820, which will provide a critical expansion to preschool programs already started.

    Preschoolers at Seagull Schools

    Alia Wong/Civil Beat

    This school year, Hawaii began to provide public preschool through legislative funding of $3 million. The effort was initiated, in part, due to the change in the entry age for kindergarten. Children who reached the age of 5 by July 31, 2014, could start. Children who turned 5 on August 1 or later (many call them the Fall Fives) had to wait another year to enter public school. Those keiki who were not eligible to enter kindergarten were targeted for this new preschool program.

    Unfortunately, funding only provided 21 classrooms across the state. With a maximum of 20 children per classroom, only a mere 420 children could attend, far short of the thousands of children who were eligible by the change in age requirement for kindergarten entry.

    We must continue what we started. SB 844 and HB 820 will

  • Aiona, Ige Largely Like-Minded on Needed Education Reform

    · By Alia Wong

    Editor’s Note: Civil Beat asked Mufi Hannemann, the Hawaii Independent Party candidate for governor, numerous times throughout September for an interview for this story but he was never available. 

    Hawaii is the only state that isn’t broken up by multiple school districts. That means Hawaii — whose population of roughly 1.4 million people makes it the 11th smallest state —  actually encompasses one of the largest school districts in the country.

    The ninth largest one, to be exact, costing taxpayers nearly $1.5 billion dollars annually for operations alone. Together, the Department of Education and charter schools are the state’s single biggest expense. 

    The state’s school district serves more than 185,000 students (and their parents) and roughly 25,000 employees, a little over half of whom are teachers. From Niihau to Keaau, that district comprises a hodgepodge of cultures and income groups, school contexts and learning needs. 

    And according to both Duke Aiona and David Ige — the Republican and Democrat vying to be Hawaii’s next governor — therein lies one of the greatest challenges facing public education in the state.

    Kindergarten students at Ala Wai Elementary School on August 21, 2014

    PF Bentley/Civil Beat

    In fact, the two candidates have a lot in common when it comes to assessing Hawaii’s public schools. One of the only education issues on which they appear to disagree strongly is the proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to amend Hawaii’s constitution and permit the allocation of public funds for private

  • Hawaii Loses Money as International Student Population Shrinks

    · By Manjari Fergusson

    Universities are ramping up efforts to attract foreign students who contribute to the state’s economy.

  • Would Gay Marriage Bring the ‘Homosexual Lifestyle’ to Hawaii Students?

    · By Anita Hofschneider

    State officials dismiss fears that legalizing same-sex marriage will affect school curriculum.

  • Hawaii Teacher: Creating The Perfect Bubble For Better Learning

    · By Michael Wooten

    The classroom would be a focused place where students deserved a higher level of respect and attention.

  • Hawaii Preschool Plan in Crunch as Advocates Vow to Restore Funding

    · By Alia Wong

    House Finance Committee eliminated $32 million needed to fund School Readiness program.

  • Can or No Can? Pidgin Speakers in the Workforce

    · By Alia Wong

    Will eradicating Pidgin from schools make students more career ready?

  • Are Hawaii Schools Doing Enough to Prevent Youth Sports Concussions?

    · By Alia Wong

    UPDATED Hawaii high schoolers reported nearly 900 concussions during the 2011-2012 school year.

  • Hawaii Governor’s Preschool Program Gets a Boost from Obama

    · By Alia Wong

    Obama’s proposed program would help states fund early education services for lower- and middle-income children.

  • Hawaii Preschool Initiative Passes First Test

    · By Alia Wong

    Education committees have approved several measures that aim to provide preschool for all of Hawaii’s 4-year-olds.

  • UH Students: We Had No Idea Our Dorm’s Security Cameras Were Broken

    · By Alia Wong

    The university is fixing cameras in Frear Hall that haven’t been working for months.

  • Hawaii Teacher: The Four-Letter Word I Think Of All Day Long

    · By Susan Kay Anderson

    Teaching is an exercise in hope — for both teachers and students.

  • Hawaii Employers No Help For Working Parents In Need Of Child Care

    · By Alia Wong

    Local companies have yet to catch on to the onsite child care trend.

  • Funding the Missing Link For Hawaii’s Public Preschool Program

    · By Alia Wong

    The pilot program, set for the 2014 school year, would serve 3,500 4-year-olds.

  • Hawaii Teacher: Children Are Left Behind With Elephants In The Room

    · By Susan Kay Anderson

    Students graduate from Pahoa High not knowing how to look up a book and check one out.