Standardized tests of reading, science and math
place the statewide district operated by the Hawaii
Department of Education in the national cellar.

By some measures, we are dead last.

Across the United States, as districts increase in
size, per pupil costs rise, standardized test
performance falls, and the score gap between children
of poor parents and the children of wealthy parents
increases. Aggregation of students and resources into
large districts intensifies the contest for control of
school policy. In small districts, with no large asset
at stake, parents win this contest. In large
districts, insiders win. When public sector unions,
construction contractors, and suppliers take from
parents the control of school policy, children of poor
and minority parents suffer most. Political control of
school harms most the children of the least
politically adept parents.

Every debate over reform of the Hawaii DOE is itself
an argument for multiple school independent school
districts or a voucher-subsidized market in K-12
education services. If we disagree over ultimate goals
and values, differences are irreconcilable and a
winner-take-all contest for control of a statewide
monopoly must create unhappy losers. With “public
school choice” and multiple independent districts, or
a voucher-subsidized market, unhappy parents may take
their children and the taxpayers