STAND. COM. REP. NO. 3690
RE: H.B. No. 2543
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2020
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Education, to which was referred H.B. No. 2543, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO ACCESS TO LEARNING,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to build the foundation to provide access to learning by the year 2030 to all children three to four years of age and children who will be eligible for kindergarten within two years.
(1) Establishes benchmarks for certain percentages of children three to four years of age and children who will be eligible for kindergarten within two years to have access to learning, with an ultimate goal of providing all of the children in that age group with access to learning by the year 2030;
(2) Establishes the Learning to Grow Agency to coordinate and develop a state-wide early learning system;
(3) Establishes a grant program for publicly or privately operated center-based programs to increase early learning opportunities;
(4) Establishes a prekindergarten program to be administered by the Learning to Grow Agency;
(5) Transfers the functions of the Executive Office on Early Learning to the Learning to Grow Agency;
(6) Eliminates the Executive Office on Early Learning; and
(7) Appropriates funds to the Learning to Grow Agency.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Governor; Department of Human Services; Department of Education, Hawaii Teacher Standards Board; Hawaii State Public Library System; University of Hawaii Hilo; Early Learning Board; Partners in Development Foundation; HE‘E Coalition; Bank of Hawaii; Hawaii Executive Collaborative; Aha Punana Leo, Inc.; Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education; Bank of Hawaii; Hawaii Community Foundation; Aloha United Way; Hawaii Pacific Health; Kamehameha Schools; Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement; Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce; Hawaii Kids Can; Papa Ola Lokahi; Bishop Museum; Iolani Palace; Native Hawaiian Education Council; INPEACE; The Queen's Health Systems; Parents and Children Together; Goodwill; Chamber of Commerce Hawaii; Hawaii Children's Action Networks Speaks!; Head Start Association of Hawaii; Legacy of Life; Early Childhood Action Strategy; Hawaii International Child; American Academy of Pediatrics, Hawaii Chapter; Hawaii Women Lawyers; Pacific Resource Partnership; Hawaii Association of Independent Schools; Le Jardin Academy; Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children, the Salvation Army; Aloha Harvest; and numerous individuals. Your Committee received comments on this measure from Executive Office on Early Learning, Department of Education, Department of Budget and Finance, Board of Education, State Public Charter School Commission, University of Hawaii System, State Public Charter Commission, the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Hawaii State Teachers Association, and one individual.
Your Committee finds that early childhood education builds a foundation for lifelong learning and is essential to the development of the State's youth. Your Committee further finds that over fifty percent of young children in Hawaii are not enrolled in nursery school, preschool, or kindergarten. Your Committee further finds that expanding access to early childhood learning programs will ensure that the children within the State will gain readiness to enter the K-12 school system.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Removing charter schools from the Executive Office on Early Learning Public Prekindergarten Program and inserting statutory language to provide guidelines on how prekindergarten under the State Public School Charter Commission will run;
(2) Extending the amount of time for private childcare providers to obtain accreditation;
(3) Allowing the Director of the Department of Human Services to grant accreditation deadline extensions on a case-by-case basis and approve accreditation from similar organizations not specified in the law;
(4) Inserting a procurement exemption for the Department of Human Services to expand the Preschool Open Doors Program;
(5) Clarifying that the Department of Human Services and Executive Office on Early Learning shall collaborate to identify the need for childcare and early learning in geographic regions of the State;
(6) Changing the source of funding for appropriations to the Preschool Open Doors Program and Hawaiian language medium pre-kindergarten programs to various special funds, and removing all other appropriations from the General Fund;
(7) Removing sections relating to the expansion of the Promise Program into the four-year university program;
(8) Inserting effective dates to address the various programs, appropriations, and other components of the measure; and
(9) 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 H.B. No. 2543, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 2543, 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 Committee on Education,
MICHELLE N. KIDANI, Chair