HONOLULU — Since the beginning of his campaign, State Senator David Ige has pledged that reforming the state’s education system, from early childhood through higher, would be a top priority if he is elected the next governor of Hawaii. He received early support from the Hawaii State Teachers Association because of his open and honest communication on his plans to improve public education in the midst of failures by both the current Board of Education and the individual who selected them—the incumbent governor.
In an open letter to HSTA members, Senator Ige cleared up any misinformation on his stance against the upcoming constitutional amendment to use public money for private preschool, stating, “I support early childhood education but I am opposed to the proposed constitutional amendment to allow public funds to be spent in private preschools. We should first successfully implement early education programs in our public schools before considering spreading our limited tax dollars to private preschools. The amendment asks voters to approve a preschool program with no details on how much it will cost and how the program will work.”
As governor, Senator Ige said he will appoint BOE members from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate a deep understanding and passion for education. He added that school administrators and teachers feel disempowered and that the state needs to move away from a top-down bureaucracy and increase funding that will empower and enable those closest to the students to make decisions on curriculum, programs and spending.
“The Board of Education, which is appointed by the Governor, has failed to provide effective leadership and I am very concerned about the results from a recent survey where administrators are in fear of retaliation for speaking up about education,” said Senator Ige. “This must change immediately. As your Governor, I will work with the Board to immediately place a hold on the components of the Educator Effectiveness System (EES) that educators have identified to be part of poor design and implementation, until we are able to re-assess and come up with a more responsible solution that builds morale, capacity, and professionalism.”
With nearly 30 years in the state Legislature, candidate for governor Senator David Ige has built a solid reputation as a thoughtful, honest and innovative legislator. He has been the chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means for the past four years, helping to shape and balance the state’s budget. Senator Ige has led a total of 10 House and Senate committees, including Higher Education, Education and Technology, Health, Hawaiian Affairs, Economic Development, Commerce, and Consumer Protection and Information Technology. This year he was named one of the 13 “tech-savviest” state legislators in the nation by Government Technology magazine. Senator Ige has been at the forefront of applying technology solutions and information technology in government and education. More information on Senator Ige and his candidacy are available at www.davidige.org.