Hawaii voters appear eager for greater investment and greater innovation in their public school system, according to statewide poll of likely voters commissioned by HawaiiKidsCAN. Residents across the state want more funding for public education overall, and they have strong opinions on how those investments could be more smart and strategic, including:

  • Better pay specifically for teachers who work with students who have special needs
  • Greater diversity in the pool of school principals
  • More flexibility for parents to select the public school of their choice

Community members also believe:

  • In the value of a college diploma
  • That all high school students should have hands-on work experience, particularly in high-wage, high-growth jobs, before they graduate

Digging deeper into perceptions of Hawaii public schools, the crosstabs showed 54 percent of respondents who have or had children in the public school system believe that public schools prepare graduates for the workforce. This compares to 44 percent among those who did not or do not have public school children. It’s clear that this is a critical time to reinvest in our public schools with an approach that focuses on high-impact policies that will allow our children to grow, learn and compete in our ever-changing economy.

January 28–February 5, 2019
404 voters randomly selected statewide.

Sample Error:

Maximum of 4.9% error at 95% confidence for Statewide questions, with sample error varying widely for subcategories of respondents.

Conducted via telephone interview of registered voters, with an eight minute average length of the survey.

Prepared by Solutions Pacific and fielded by Ward Research at their downtown Honolulu headquarters.

Why a survey?

As a local nonprofit education advocacy organization, HawaiiKidsCAN is focused on promoting an equitable and innovative public education system by engaging students, educators, and community members around the policy-making process. We firmly believe that the voice of our broader community must help to drive the changes we want to see in our education system.

Fund Education:

Voters who believe we should provide more funding for public education.

77% Fund Education

Outside Perspectives:

Voters who believe it is important to hire principals with experience from outside the DOE system.

80% Outside Perspectives

Special Education Funding:

Voters who believe public schools should be able to increase pay to teachers who work with students with special needs.

81% Special Education Funding

Hands-On Work Experience:

Voters who believe it is necessary that high school students have completed hands-on work experience before graduation.

89% Hands-on Work Experience

High-Wage, High-Growth Industries:

Voters who feel that the hands-on experience be geared toward high-growth, high wage industries.

76% High-wage, High-Growth Industries

College Valued:

Voters who say it is necessary to have a college diploma in order to be successful.

75% College Valued

Public School Choice:

Voters believe parents with children in our public schools should be able to select the public school of their choice versus just the default school in their neighborhood.

57% Public School Choice

Perceptions of Public Schools:

Voters who have/had students in public school believe that public schools prepare graduates for the workforce (vs. only 44% agree if they haven’t had public school kids)

54% Perceptions of Public Schools

What is the most important issue for your state government to work on?