I am glad we have been able to raise the level of awareness statewide on the need for education reform. However, last night the House missed an important opportunity for genuine restructuring of our public school system. They also demonstrated their lack of faith in the voters of Hawaii by failing to place on the November ballot our proposal for the creation of local school boards.
Without fundamental changes to dissolve the Department of Education, principals in schools will not have control over the money they need to improve student success. The House-passed measures call for the creation of local boards that are essentially advisory in nature. This amounts to no more than changing the tires on an old school bus when the engine needs a complete overhaul.
I want to thank the many parents, teacher, students and community leaders who came down to the Capitol, sent emails, and wrote letters to the newspapers voicing their support for our bills. Their efforts were not in vain.
We now turn our efforts to working with the Senate to enact our proposal for a constitutional amendment to establish at least seven local school boards that can be directly accountable to parents, students and the community on each of our islands. I continue to urge the public to call upon their Senators and ask them to seriously and honestly consider our bills for improving public education. It is our hope that successful passage in the Senate will bring our proposals back to the House, giving them a second chance to enact real education reform.