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Andy Jones’s a high school teacher in Hawaii. He writes here with profound dismay about the search for a new superintendent for the schools of Hawaii.
He was not sorry to see the current superintendent go. She was an avid supporter of test-based accountability and data-data-data.
“This week we learned that the new superintendent will likely be one of two products of the current educational Big Box: a nationwide collection of individuals with graduate degrees from institutions (many of them recent startups) that support a transformation of public education according to post-traditional business models – what critics refer to as the “corporate educational reform movement.
“This model – one to which Matayoshi adhered and which was largely responsible for facilitating the national failure that was No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – is founded on the idea that, where public education is “broken,” it can be “fixed” through methods that emphasize top-down standardization and systemic compliance.
“That’s precisely the model the state is doing its best to move away from – a desire encapsulated in the Blueprint for Public Education drafted by Governor Ige’s ESSA Task Force, as well as in the Hawaii State Teacher Association’s Schools Our Keiki Deserve report.
“A quick Google search on the proposed candidates leaves little room for optimism that either candidate is prepared or likely to jump start Hawaii schools out of their post-NCLB limbo and into the brighter, more wholesome future envisioned by HSTA and the Governor’s Task Force.”
Jones finds reasons to avoid both candidates when he googles. Both have red flags in their history.
“The local educational community has requested candidates with deep teaching experience, extensive personal knowledge of Hawaii and its public school system, a collaborative mindset, and a commitment to teacher empowerment. The board’s selections demonstrate failure to acknowledge the input they solicited on their own survey.
“It may seem hyperbolic to ask for some sort of an explicit mandate for board members to do what is right. But perhaps because board members are appointed rather than elected, they don’t appear to be particularly concerned about holding themselves accountable to community opinion.
“Through the various missteps reported in the media over the past months, it has become clear that an appointed Board is not serving the interests of Hawaii schools and the children they serve.”