STAND. COM. REP. NO. 2233
RE: S.B. No. 2586
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Eighth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2016
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 2586 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is, among other things, to:
(1) Require the Department of Education to provide public school students with a whole child education curriculum;
(2) Provide air conditioning in over-heated classrooms;
(3) Decrease class size;
(4) Provide special education teachers with additional preparation time and funding;
(5) Establish the student loan subsidy program and special fund;
(6) Expand vocational, technical, and career pathway programs;
(7) Amend the factors considered by the Committee on Weights when developing the weighted student formula;
(8) Allow remote schools and other designate schools to be allocated funds by categorical allotments rather than using the weighted student formula and allow for minimum staff at such schools;
(9) Limit participation in standardized tests;
(10) Prohibit the use of standardized test scores for evaluation purposes;
(11) Authorize standardized testing exemptions;
(12) Require the Board of Education to provide notice of the right to opt-out of standardized testing;
(13) Require the public prekindergarten program to be available to all eligible children by the 2020-2021 school year;
(14) Amend evaluation programs for teachers and educational officers;
(15) Increase the general excise tax by one percent to support education; and
(16) Make appropriations.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa College of Education, Hawai‘i Educational Policy Center, Americans for Democratic Action, Hawaii State Teachers Association, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii Children's Action Network, Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children, Parents for Public Schools of Hawai‘i, and over one hundred ninety individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii, Hawai‘i Association of REALTORS, and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Education, State Public Charter School Commission, Executive Office on Early Learning, Department of Budget and Finance, Department of Taxation, State Procurement Office, Tax Foundation of Hawaii, and Hawaii Government Employees Association.
Your Committee finds that Hawaii faces an urgent need to improve the public schools in the State. In 2015, Hawaii scored last in the nation on ACT scores, forty-eighth on the eighth grade National Assessment of Education Process reading test, and forty-sixth on the fourth grade National Assessment of Education Process reading test.
Your Committee further finds that Hawaii's schools rank last in the nation in education funding. When adjusted for cost of living, both per-pupil spending and teacher pay are the lowest in the nation. Educational facilities and staffing in Hawaii fall far below the national average. Many schools are in desperate need of air conditioning and other heat abatement measures, and numerous schools make do without filling basic staff positions, such as school librarians and school counselors. These conditions have a direct and dramatic negative impact on the present well-being of Hawaii's students and on their prospects for future success. Immediate action is required to correct the present situation.
Your Committee additionally finds that this measure will take steps to improve the situation in Hawaii's public schools for both students and teachers. In essence, this measure constitutes an investment in Hawaii's educational future and preparedness of its keiki, which will be impactful to all people of the State.
Your Committee has amended this measure by making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
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. 2586, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2586, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Education,
MICHELLE N. KIDANI, Chair