STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1254

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: H.B. No. 1362

H.D. 1

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committees on Education and Human Services, to which was referred H.B. No. 1362, H.D. 1, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO ACCESS TO LEARNING,"

 

beg leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to:

 

(1) Establish the Hawaii early childhood educator stipend program to address shortage of early childhood education educators;

 

(2) Extend certain effective dates for implementation of Act 46, Session Laws of Hawaii 2020, relating to access to learning;

 

(3) Require the application of a uniform assessment for public and charter school kindergarten students; and

 

(4) Allow educational data to be shared using an existing system.

 

Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Board of Education, HEE Coalition, Children's Action Network Speaks!, Early Childhood Action Strategy, Special Education Advisory Council, Democratic Party of Hawaii Education Caucus, and one individual. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Education, Department of Human Services, Executive Office on Early Learning, Department of the Attorney General, State Public Charter School Commission, Early Learning Board, Kamehameha Schools, and Kaulanakilohana.

 

Your Committees find that persons considering a career in the early childhood education field face formidable obstacles. Even highly qualified and motivated workers are paid very low wages. As a result, recruitment and retention of workers in the early childhood education field can be extremely challenging. This measure will support individuals seeking to become highquality early childhood educators, thereby moving the State toward reaching its goal of increasing access to highquality early learning programs.

 

Your Committees have amended this measure by:

 

(1) Clarifying that that the purpose of the measure is to improve assessment of the longitudinal education and workforce outcomes of students who were provided with early childhood services;

 

(2) Removing the prohibition for private partnership funds to go directly to Department of Education schools for the purposes of opening prekindergarten classrooms;

 

(3) Specifying that beginning with the 2024 school year, any parent, guardian, or other person having the responsibility for, or care of, a child who will be at least five years of age on or before December 31 of the school year shall enroll the child in a public school kindergarten unless the child is enrolled at a private school or the child's attendance is otherwise exempt;

 

(4) Specifying that a collection agency that is contracted by the Executive Office on Early Learning is allowed to collect a commission;

 

(5) Clarifying that the Department of Human Services and the Executive Office on Early Learning shall collaborate to identify the need for child care and early learning in geographic regions of the State and consider using public facilities, including school, libraries, and the University of Hawaii System as locations for child care and early learning programs rather than collect annual data;

 

(6) Clarifying that joint reports to be submitted by the Department of Human Services and Executive Office on Early Learning to monitor the progress of implementing the early care and education sector programs shall be submitted to the Legislature prior to the convening of the regular sessions of 2024, 2025, 2026, and 2027;

 

(7) Inserting section 13 of Act 46, Session Laws of Hawaii 2020, to be amended to clarify that the Department of Human Services will work with other state departments and agencies provide inter-departmental data sharing through the statewide longitudinal data system for the purposes of evaluating outcomes through early education to workforce;

 

(8) Clarifying that the Department of Human Services will provide licensure for all programs funded by section 15 of Act 46, Session Laws of Hawaii 2020, for the purposes of health and safety;

 

(9) Inserting a blank appropriation to fund one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) position to coordinate, staff, and facilitate the implementation of Act 46, Session Laws of Hawaii 2020, which will report to the Early Learning Board; and

 

    (10) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.

 

As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Education and Human Services that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1362, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1362, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Education and Human Services,

 

________________________________

JOY A. SAN BUENAVENTURA, Chair

 

________________________________

MICHELLE N. KIDANI, Chair