The League of Women Voters Will Hold Hawaii Education Amendment Forum

Should Hawaii’s next governor appoint the 14 members of the state Board of Education or should voters continue to elect them (similar to how state Legislators are elected)? That is a question voters will answer on November 2 when voting on the proposed constitutional amendment.

To better help the public understand the pros and cons of each side, the Hawaii chapter of the League of Women Voters is sponsoring a free forum tomorrow at the UH William S. Richardson School of Law from 6 to 8 p.m. 

The forum is moderated by law school dean Avi Soifer and will feature education heavy hitters, including former Gov. Ben Cayetano, Joan Husted, the former executive director of the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA), Garrett Toguchi, the chair of the state BOE and UH law school professor Randy Roth.

This isn’t the first time a BOE constitutional amendment has been suggested; politicians, teachers and the community have been discussing—and arguing about—an amendment proposal since the 1960s.

(HONOLULU Magazine, and its sister publication, Hawaii Business, also became involved in this important issue, when the publications’ editors helped develop the Hawaii’s Children First committee.)

Those in favor of the governor appointing the members contend that appointed members will result in better accountability and overall education system improvements (namely no future furlough-like debacles).

However, those who prefer that the BOE members continue to be elected believe that through voting in BOE candidates, the public is more involved and partisan politics are avoided.

Whether BOE members are voted in or appointed, making an educated vote in November is the first step.

The forum will be held in classroom 1 at the law school. Olelo will be broadcasting the forum, which will air several times prior to election day.