STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1289-08
RE: S.B. No. 2878
Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twenty-Fourth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2008
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 2878, S.D. 2, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EARLY LEARNING,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this bill is to help Hawaii's children reach their full potential as individuals and citizens, beginning at birth, by:
(1) Establishing an early learning system to ensure a continuum of quality early learning opportunities for children from birth to age five throughout the state;
(2) Creating and appropriating funds for the Early Learning Council to develop and administer the early learning system; and
(3) Establishing a temporary five-year pilot program called the Keiki First Steps Early Learning Program, which focuses on the coordination, improvement, and expansion of existing programs and services within the early learning system for three- and four-year-old children in the state, with priority to underserved or at-risk children.
The Department of Education (DOE), University of Hawaii System, Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, Aloha United Way, and PATCH testified in support of this bill. The Department of Human Services (DHS), several members of the Act 259 Early Learning Educational Task Force, Good Beginnings Alliance, and Kamehameha Schools supported the intent of this measure. The Office of Information Practices and a concerned individual offered comments.
Your Committee has amended this bill by replacing it with the contents of H.B. No. 2973, H.D. 2, which, among other things:
(1) Establishes an early learning system to be named "Keiki First Steps" (System) that ensures a spectrum of quality early learning opportunities for children throughout the state, from birth until the time they enter kindergarten;
(2) Creates and appropriates funds for the Early Learning Council (Council) to develop and administer the System;
(3) Establishes and appropriates funds for the Three- and Four-Year-Old Program which focuses on the coordination, improvement, and expansion of existing programs and services for three- and four-year-old children in the state, with priority to underserved or at-risk children, and consists of DHS awarding grants to early learning programs and services that serve three- and four-year-olds and meet the criteria developed by the Council; and
(4) Statutorily establishes the Pre-Plus Program, the goal of which is to increase the supply of suitable classrooms for early childhood programs statewide, by requiring DOE and DHS to develop suitable Pre-Plus classrooms on DOE campuses statewide, for early childhood education programs.
Your Committee has also made additional amendments as follows:
(1) Adding definitions for various types of early learning programs and services;
(2) Clarifying that the Council is attached to DOE for administrative purposes only, notwithstanding any other law to the contrary;
(3) Clarifying that the Council is to establish a system for awarding appropriate credentials to educators and administrators relevant to the various early learning approaches, service deliveries, and settings;
(4) Clarifying that the Council is to develop standards of accountability, rather than monitor programs and services, within the System;
(5) Deleting the provision that the Council may award grants and enter into contracts to qualified early childhood educators, community-based training programs, and higher education institutions;
(6) Changing the membership of the Council as follows:
(A) Removing the Director of Labor and Industrial Relations or the Director's designee;
(B) Removing the representative from a private institute of higher education that offers early childhood education programs;
(C) Adding another representative of center-based child care program providers;
(D) Adding another representative of the Association of Mayors;
(E) Providing for the appointment of certain members by the Governor; and
(F) Providing for staggered terms on the Council;
(7) Authorizing the Council to, in forming any workgroups and subcommittees, involve individuals who are not Council members;
(8) Specifying that the personnel appointed by the executive director of the Council are to work directly for the executive director;
(9) Allowing the Council to require reports from state agencies and programs and services of System;
(10) Changing the Keiki First Steps Special Fund to the Keiki First Steps Trust Fund, to allow the Council to receive private funds;
(11) Appropriating funds for the establishment of one full-time equivalent (1.00 FTE) permanent position for the executive director of the Council and full-time equivalent permanent positions for support staff;
(12) Changing the expending agency for the appropriation for the System and operations of the Council from DOE to the Council;
(13) Repealing statutory provisions relating to the quality early education plan to be developed by DOE; and
(14) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for clarity, consistency, and style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Education that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2878, S.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2878, S.D. 2, H.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Finance.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Education,
ROY TAKUMI, Chair