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H.B. NO.












SECTION 1. In the 1998 session, the Legislature passed Act 309, Session Laws of Hawaii 1998, which amended section 302A-1128, Hawaii Revised Statutes, by requiring that the "course of study and instruction for the first twelve grades shall enable all students to meet progressive standards of competency in a language in addition to English." The intent of the legislation was to "prepare Hawaii's public school students to earn a place in the global, electronic marketplace of the future."

The purpose of this Act is to clarify the requirements of section 302A-1128 to be consistent with Hawaii state board of education policies and clarify specific actions required of the department of education and its schools.

In the fall of 1998, after Act 309 was enacted, the department of education adopted a comprehensive set of revised Hawaii content and performance standards for ten content areas including world languages. Hawaii state board of education policy 2015 requires the department of education to implement the Hawaii content and performance standards, which define standards of competency in the form of benchmarks for selected grades (grades 3, 5, 8, and 10).

World languages performance standards for grades 9-12 include the following sample. The student:

(1) Exchanges information by asking and answering a variety of open-ended questions and offering discussion related to the topic of conversation (e.g., asks related questions; offers additional information; provides considerable detail);

(2) Shows understanding by expressing complete, relevant thoughts that relate directly to and help to develop the topic of conversation;

(3) Converses in a way that is easily understood by native speakers;

(4) Controls basic language structures accurately most of the time; shows control of more complex structures that support conversational transitions; and creates original expression of ideas with language;

(5) Uses an increasing variety of vocabulary that is appropriate and specific to the topic and conversational situation; and

(6) Uses well-connected paragraph length discourse as appropriate to the conversational topic.

The Hawaii content and performance standards benchmarks help to define specific competencies in world languages expected of students at the benchmarked grade levels. Section 302A-1128(b)(3) is therefore redundant and moreover places difficult demands upon schools.

As written, section 302A-1128(b)(3) would be difficult for schools to implement, as it mandates specific student competencies without addressing the actions and means (e.g., resources) needed to bring this about. For students to be proficient in a language other than English, appropriate learning opportunities must be provided. These opportunities would include students enrolling in required courses in world languages. High school students are already required to accumulate twenty-two credits. To add world languages would either increase the credit requirements or displace the six credits now allowed for the student's choice of electives or displace other required courses. Setting graduation requirements and identifying student competencies, furthermore, are functions of the board of education rather than the Hawaii state legislature.

There is also need for consistency with a 1986 board of education motion that states "that a second language be incorporated in the department of education curriculum, commencing with the third grade of elementary school, with continuing courses available at the intermediate and high school level." Through this motion, the board of education identified grade 3 as the entry grade level for second language learning, not grade 1, as section 302A-1128 requires.

SECTION 2. Section 302A-1128, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) The department shall regulate the courses of study to be pursued in all grades of public schools and classify them by methods the department deems proper; provided that:

(1) The course of study and instruction shall be regulated in accordance with the statewide performance standards established under section 302A-201;

(2) All pupils shall be progressively competent in the use of computer technology; and

(3) The course of study and instruction for [the first twelve grades shall enable] grades three to twelve shall provide opportunities for all students to [meet] develop progressive standards of competency in a language in addition to English.

The department shall develop statewide educational policies and guidelines based on this subsection without regard to chapter 91.

For the purposes of this subsection, the terms "progressively competent in the use of computer technology" and "progressive standards of competency in a language in addition to English" shall be defined by policies adopted by the board. The board shall formulate statewide educational policies allowing the superintendent to exempt certain students from the requirements of paragraphs (2) and (3) without regard to chapter 91."

SECTION 2. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.