Shoots from the Grassroot Institute – Jan. 15, 2004-Lawmakers Listen But Seem to Have Cotton in Their Ears

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“Laura Brown Image”

Not to be outdone by Gov. Lingle’s talk story sessions across the state, House Democrats made the rounds to several communities, ending Tuesday night in Mililani. Hosted by Rep. Marilyn Lee, Rep. Roy Takumi, Rep. Dwight Takamine and Rep. Brian Schatz, the lawmakers positioned themselves before a couple of dozen community members to listen to their concerns. Ex-Board of Education member Francis McMillan asked the question that was the topic of discussion before the meeting convened, “Why are you coming to ask what the community wants after all of your bills have been written and decided upon for this session?”


Then, bombarded by questions like, “Why did you kill the bill that required annual testing of students?” and “Why do you continue to fund schools that are too small to accommodate planned enrollment?” the representatives responded by avoided the trap of discussing what they had not done. Instead, they explained what they will do to communities in the upcoming session to improve education.

*Restrict School Community-Based Management in each school by telling them what they can and cannot do; and

*Require DOE complex-level decision making.

The community continued to reiterate that they want to be able to select their principals, obtain a school that will fit all the children in at the same time without overcrowding and without using “tracks,” approve of a K-12 curriculum, increase the number of students receiving scholarships, and, most importantly, have control over how money is spent for education.

These concerns caused a deer-in-the-headlights look from the representatives. “Who’s