Latest Articles

  • Nozoe Leaving Hawaii DOE for Post at Federal Level

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Hawaii’s chief academic officer is leaving the state Department of Education next month for a job in Washington, D.C.

    Ronn Nozoe, Hawaii DOE deputy superintendent since 2010, has been appointed to serve as deputy assistant secretary for policy and programs in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. DOE, school officials announced Friday.

    Hawaii DOE Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe, pictured here in March 2014 at an educational talk at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, has accepted a job with the U.S. DOE.

    Eugene Tanner/U.S. DOE

    “His experience as a teacher, principal, superintendent and state leader make him well qualified to help the U.S. Department of Education’s effort to partner with states and local districts to help ensure all students are successful,” Deborah Delisle, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, said in a release.

    State DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono also praised Nozoe for the work he’s done in Hawaii and his potential at the federal level.

    “Ronn has been a great asset in our state and served our students and educators well,” Hirono said. “I know he’ll be a wonderful leader in the U.S. Department of Education, implementing policies that will help students be successful nationwide.”

    Nozoe’s last day in his current job is April 24. The DOE has started an internal recruitment process to fill the position.

    “At the heart of any real change and improvement are deeply committed and selfless people who are willing to put the cause — in our case, kids — before their individual

  • Youth Get Glimpse of Future on Job Shadowing Day

    · By Cara Phillips

    Waking up at 4 a.m. was definitely not on my list of fun things to do this spring break, but I’m so glad I did. I experienced the amazing opportunity of accompanying a woman who spends every morning on my television screen. Lost in the excitement of being with KITV’s Morning News Anchor Lara Yamada, the memory of lugging myself out of bed was soon forgotten.

    I was lucky enough to be one of four students invited by the Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative (SHYLI) to join its third-annual Job Shadowing Day. On March 17, Sherry Anne Pancho, Juanito Moises Jr., Alex Siordia and I took a big step closer to our future careers. Each of us was given the chance to be mentored by professionals in our fields of interest.

    Oceanit graciously hosted our two aspiring engineers, Sherry and Juanito. Sherry wants to be a bio-medical engineer, designing prosthetics. She was moved after a neighbor, whose legs were lost in the war at Afghanistan, passed away. “I want to help the people facing life-threatening situations like that.” Sherry was touched when Ocean it engineer Frank Price explained how he designs lasers that improve brain function.

    Participants in the Sustainable Hawaii Youth Leadership Initiative: from left, Oceanit Director Ian Kitajima, State Director for Sen. Mazie Hirono Alan Yamamoto, Marianne Larned, executive director of SHYLI and students Juanito Moises Jr., Cara Phillips and Sherry Anne Payson. Oceanit Founder Pat Sullivan is on the right, and student Alex Siordia takes part from Washington

  • Kim Coco: Contradictory Efforts on School Bullying, Workplace Harassment

    · By Kim Coco Iwamoto

    Two legislative bills, House Bill 819 and Senate Bill 1012, have crossed over the bicameral divide. One addresses bullying of children and the other, harassment of employees.  If you skim each bill, you might assume they are written to have the similar effect of reducing discrimination and increasing civility. You would be wrong.

    HB819, “relating to bullying,” would protect youth from being bullied by holding schools, state and county agencies and other programs that receive state or county funds, accountable for enforcing anti-bullying policies and procedures.

    However, SB1012, “relating to employment,” would protect employers from being held accountable when they do not effectively enforce anti-harassment laws in the workplace — including laws prohibiting sexual harassment.

    A bill currently before the Legislature would do more to ban bullying of children, but a separate measure would paradoxically lessen the penalties for harassment in the workplace.

    Diego Grez via Wikimedia

    The anti-bullying bill made it through four committee referrals so far with only one vote against it. Rep. Bob McDermott has entertained a very public fixation with gays and anuses since his return to office so his knee-jerk opposition was predictable.

    The bill prohibits bullying based on many pertinent classifications: race, color, religion, ancestry, sex including gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability and “any other distinguishing characteristic.”

    However, McDermott is so consumed with his personal crusade that he has overlooked the victims of bullying who may live in his district. Surely some of his constituents were bullied when they were children or have kids

  • 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.