Positive News about Hawaii's Public Education System

As we all know, it’s been a tumultuous year for the state’s public schools. There’s the dreaded Furlough Fridays, the Legislative budget cuts and the bickering between Gov. Linda Lingle and the Hawaii State Teachers Association. We also witnessed the forming of a handful of organizations to restore the year’s school days; one group even resorted to a sit-in protest in Lingle’s office.

However, in the midst of the darkness that is Furlough Friday, there is a shining light. Twenty-six of Hawaii’s of 31 charter schools have managed to avoid four-day weeks altogether, or have as few of them as possible.

Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau charter school in Kaneohe saved 12 school days this year by creatively using its grant money and cutting classroom supply budgets. Teachers also agreed to temporarily go without pay raises this year. The remaining five furlough days were tacked on to Christmas break and students will be let out early for summer break.

Kihei Charter School on Maui wasn’t able to escape furloughs; however, while students weren’t learning in the classroom, they are able to continue their lessons at home. Younger children were given educational activities to participate in with their parents at home and older students were given online exercises as well as independent projects.

This good news even caused the governor to proclaim last week as Charter Schools Week in Hawaii. A national charter schools week declaration has already been established this month as well.

For more education coverage, check out our May cover story.