The Board of Education is considering shortening Hawaii’s current school year by nine days.
The Hawaii Department of Education asked for this back in July, but resubmitted the request at a hearing last Friday.
“Given that it’s third quarter and the financial situation of the state, and the labor saving proposals you are aware of, today we respectfully resubmit our request for reconsideration to the Board of Education,” asked deputy superintendent Phyliss Unebasami at the BOE meeting on Feb. 18. We’ve asked the Department of Education for more comment but haven’t heard back yet.
It cited financial and public health concerns and says it’s doing its best. Unebasami continued, “The Board’s well aware of the impact of COVID-19 on schools and communities.”
The DOE had shortened the school year last August by nine instruction days, because teachers needed extra training time to learn how to teach virtually due to the coronavirus. Some youth advocates in Hawaii say losing nearly two full school weeks can really hurt students’ education. “We thought surely nine days are a big deal, especially when so many kids are so far behind, that those days would be made up somewhere,” says HawaiiKidsCAN founder and executive director David Miyashiro.
He says that can put more students at risk for failing a grade (having to repeat the grade level) or not graduating from high school. “As students miss more days of school it’ll be harder to make up those subjects, especially math or science where every lesson builds on the lesson before that.”