Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 2139

       S.D. 1




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Seventh State Legislature

Regular Session of 2014

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 2139 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


     (1)  Apply the requirements for all public secondary schools to implement a school year that includes nine hundred ninety student instructional hours to all school years beginning with the 2014-2015 school year;


     (2)  Repeal the requirement that by the 2016-2018 school years, all public schools implement a school year of one hundred eighty days and one thousand eighty student instructional hours for elementary and secondary school grades; and


     (3)  Clarify that the definition of "student instructional hours" shall be determined by the Board of Education.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Education, IMUAlliance, and two individuals.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Hui for Excellence in Education, Hawaii State Teachers Association, and three individuals.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from two individuals.


     Your Committee finds that currently, to comply with the requirement that a school year include one thousand eighty student instructional hours, most secondary schools would need to add on average five minutes per class period.  It is unknown at this time what benefit this limited increase would be when weighed against the increased operational costs the Department of Education would incur from such a change, including additional compensation for teachers and increases in utility costs.


     Your Committee also concurs with the Department of Education's finding that the important issue that Act 167, Session Laws of Hawaii 2010, and Act 52, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011, have raised is the equity of learning time for students, especially given the fact that there has been as much as a two month difference in time between secondary schools, and this must be balanced with a focus on quality use of time and student results.


     Your Committee further finds that another pertinent issue is providing clarity on the definition of "student instructional hours".  For example, some schools require students to work on projects that include a number of hours of self-directed work but require little classroom time, so such time may not be counted toward instructional hours.  In addition, many students and teachers engage in afterschool activities that are instructional in nature but may not count toward instructional time because they occur outside of the classroom.


     By delegating the authority to define student instructional hours to the Board of Education, schools will be provided with the requested flexibility necessary for scheduling purposes, while at the same time increasing access to those teachable moments where students learn best.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Inserting language to require the Board of Education to consult with the exclusive representatives of the appropriate bargaining units in defining "student instructional hours";


     (2)  Making a conforming amendment, deleting the requirement for submission of a plan by the Department of Education to implement, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, a school year of one hundred ninety days at certain schools;


     (3)  Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and


     (4)  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. 2139, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2139, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Education,