BY MICHELE VAN HESSEN – Following reports of nepotism at Myron B. Thompson Academy Charter School, House Republican Leader, Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) announced today that the $2.3 million in Federal Stimulus Funds recently released by Gov. Linda Lingle’s Administration for Charter School accreditation could help prevent these problems in the future.

“The charter school accreditation process involves using national standards and best practices to improve the management, policies, and procedures, including anti-nepotism practices in our charter schools,” Rep. Gene Ward stated.  “National experts will work with our school officials to ensure that hiring practices avoid nepotism that teachers are properly certified, and that public education funds are accounted for and well spent.”

Currently seven Hawaii public charter schools have already received national accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. These schools include Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (Hilo, Hawaii), Hawaii Technology Academy (Waipahu, Hawaii), Kihei Public Charter High School (Kihei, Maui), Kona Pacific Academy (Kona, Hawaii), Lanikai Elementary (Lanikai, Oahu), Waialae Elementary (Honolulu, Oahu) and West Hawaii Explorations Academy (Kona, Hawaii).

Accreditation is the “gold standard” for public school operations and is particularly important for high school graduates since some colleges only recognize grade transcripts from accredited high schools.

Ward also noted that the Lingle Administration had the foresight to recognize that all of Hawaii’s public charter schools should work to reach this national benchmark which would help avoid hints of nepotism altogether.

“Charter schools sans nepotism should remain autonomous and be given latitude in how they operate and deliver public education to Hawaii students who opt to attend a charter, rather than a traditional public school,” Ward concluded.

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