I have been pleased with the extensive coverage education reform has received during the past few months because I believe it is the most important issue facing our state.

My administration has proposed a comprehensive reform plan that I believe will raise student achievement after decades of failed attempts at putting band-aids on a mortally wounded system.

The plan includes: letting the public decide on whether we should replace the existing statewide Department of Education with seven local school boards, moving at least 90 percent of state operating education funds to the school level, fully funding and removing the cap on charter schools, empowering principals and holding them accountable for student achievement, and giving teachers the tools they need to restore discipline in the classroom.

A national study of 37 states found that local school boards lead to higher student achievement. Hawaii is the only state in the nation that has a statewide board of education, and it doesn

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