BY GARRETT TOGUCHI – Voters should be very concerned about an attempt by a small group to replace Hawaii’s democratically elected Board of Education with governor appointees.
Instead of representing parents, students and educators, appointed Board of Education members would have only one constituent: the governor who selects the member to office and unilaterally controls the educational agenda and budget. Appointments would be made without true public involvement, based on politics and party lines instead of the needs of our students.
States with appointed school boards have no checks and balances, a higher turnover of superintendents, and the lowest average scores in the nation. Eight of the bottom ten states in the Quality Counts 2010 national educational ranking have appointed school boards.
Ask any educator, and they will tell you that improvements happen when the school system is supported with adequate resources, facilities, a rigorous curriculum, effective leaders and teachers, and active community involvement.
Despite declining funds for public education, student achievement continued to rise this year, and Hawaii is now a finalist in the highly competitive federal Race to the Top program, the largest educational grant incentive in our nation’s history. In order to increase success throughout our schools, Hawaii needs more public participation and collaboration in education, instead of allowing an appointed few to decide what is best for students.
Hawaii voters fought hard in 1964 to take control of public schools by choosing an elected Board of Education. They understood that education is everyone’s business, not just the governor’s, and accountability and responsibility must be shared by all.
Hawaii State Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi was elected to the Board.