If Hawaii leaders are as concerned as they should be about the public school children who have lost ground in their education, the time to do something about it is nearly at hand.
After the past year spent principally in remote learning, Hawaii’s students are not faring very well. A report released in February showed 21% well below proficiency in English and 15% behind in math in the first semester of the current academic year. About 12% of high schoolers got failing grades in either English or math, in addition to 10% failing science or social studies.
Those are alarming data points, impossible to dismiss. Fortunately, due to substantial allotments of federal aid through the American Rescue Plan, Hawaii and other states will have the resources to make headway on the daunting task of getting kids back up to speed.
The question is, will Hawaii have plans in place in time to deliver the programs in an effective way? And will the Legislature refrain from heavy-handed attempts to exert control over the state Department of Education in carrying out those plans?
Gov. David Ige must send a strong signal from the very top that the DOE will roll out a comprehensive program of remedial education that is so crucial to see that children’s learning losses do not calcify into lasting scars.
And part of that signal should be to urge lawmakers to spike House Bill 613