STAND. COM. REP. NO. 77
RE: S.B. No. 1271
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 1271 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EARLY LEARNING,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Establish an early childhood educator stipend program to be administered by the Executive Office on Early Learning to address the shortage of qualified early childhood educators in Hawaii; and
(2) Require stipend fund repayments for the early childhood educator stipend program to be deposited into the early learning special fund.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Executive Office on Early Learning, State Public Charter School Commission, Early Learning Board, Kaulanakilohana, Children's Action Network Speaks!, Early Childhood Action Strategy, National Association of School Psychologists, and three individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Human Services and the Department of the Attorney General.
Your Committee finds that the demand for quality early care and education far exceeds the amount of available and qualified early childhood educators. The legislature also finds that preschool teachers are amongst the lowest paid occupations, making an average less than many non-skilled positions such as parking lot attendants. Moreover, it is difficult to attract individuals to this highly specialized field with such low pay and the common misperception that preschool teachers are babysitters. This measure will support those individuals seeking to become high‑quality early childhood educators, thereby moving the State toward reaching its goal of increasing access to high‑quality early learning programs.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Specifying that a collection agency that is contracted by the Executive Office on Early Learning shall be allowed to collect a commission; and
(2) 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. 1271, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1271, 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