Candidate Forum

Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Hahaione Elementary School
Mayoral and Board of Education
Candidate Forum


Mayoral Candidates – 7:15 to 8:15 p.m.
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(I support Panos Prevedouros).

Board of Education Candidates – 8:20 to 9:30 p.m.
(9 of 12 have confirmed attendance)
Opening Statement (up to 2 minutes):
Why are you running for the Board of Education and how are you qualified?
I want to promote parent control and enhanced student motivation.
I attended Hawaii DOE schools, taught in Hawaii DOE schools from 1982 to 1995, and have been an independent tutor since 1995. I have studied the relation between institutional structure and system performance for nearly 20 years.
Questions (1-minute responses)
1. With 60% of Hawaii's public schools not making adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind, what will you do to improve student achievement?
Student motivation is critical. I will support policies which give parents enhanced control in early years and give students real reasons to do what schools require, in intermediate and high school.
2. Do you believe the DOE’s $2.4 billion operating budget is sufficient, and what will you do to ensure that education funds are wisely spent?
Taxpayers currently spend over $12,000 per pupil-year to operate the Hawaii DOE. This is more than enough. The bureaucratic State-wide DOE cannot use its budget efficiently. Real reform is at least twenty years away. Parents should not wait on politicians to dismantle this corrupt system. Homeschool. Nothing in Hawaii Revised Statutes requires that instruction ocur between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
3. Since the Board of Education appoints and reviews the superintendent and state librarian, how will you ensure their top performance?
Put a gold-medal Olympic sailor behind the wheel of a supertanker with blacked-out windows, busted navigation gear, intermittent engine power, and 20 tons of driftnet hanging from the rudder. You will not get gold-medal performance.
4. In light of Hawaii’s teacher shortage, what will you do to attract and retain highly qualified teachers?
The Legislature has taken this issue from the Board's hands. I will lobby the legislature to abolish the Teacher Standards Board and the State-wide single school district. Principals should be authorized determine credential requirements and to hire the staff they prefer. Parents should have the power to take the taxpayers' K-12 education subsidy to the school they prefer.
5. With technology providing greater access to information, how can the public libraries best relate to and serve the public?
I would support radical decentralization of the library system. I support community control.
Quickies (30-sec. responses, if time permits):
Do you support random drug testing as agreed to in the teachers’ contract?
I hope teachers can now see one of the disadvantages to State-wide collective bargaining. Let's live (for now) with the contract we negotiated.
Do you support replacing the current BOE and DOE with at least seven “local” boards of education and departments of education?
Smaller is better. The job I'm running for should not exist. By some measures, North Dakota generates the highest performance of any US State. The mean school district size in North Dakota is under 500 students.
Was it appropriate for 651 Hawaii educators to attend the “Model Schools Conference” in Orlando in June at an estimated cost to the state of $1.2 million?
Probably not.


Anonymous said...

I am an undecided voter that is not satisfied with the current education system in Hawaii. However, I would greatly appreciated it if you would answer two things for me. How can homeschooling be the best solution when 1. Most parents in Hawaii are not qualified to teach(mostly due to the fact that public education has been bad for so long), much less speak or write in proper English. So your proposal would have the poorly educated teaching our youth. 2. Most parents have to work full time to make ends meet in Hawaii. So how can they afford to stay home to teach their kids? And if they teach in the evenings or the weekends, where do their kids go during the day? If you can give me some good answers to these questions, I would definitley consider voting for you, and I think others would too, because obviously the current policies have failed.

Malcolm Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for your interest. I lost in the primary. In the general election for the Honolulu (sub)District seat on the Board of Education, voters will choose between the 20-year incumbent, Denise Matsumoto, and Carol Lee.

a) Teacher certification is not a reliable indication of education nor of teaching ability. Education majors have among the lowest scores on standardized tests for college admission (SAT, ACT). Education majors have among the lowest scores on standardized tests for graduate school admission (GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT). Some years ago, the Dean of the Honors program at the UH told me that Education majors had the highest GPA in their major and the lowest GPA outside their major, of all students at the UH. College of Education coursework contributes nothing to teacher competence.

b) Children, especially very young children, will work their hearts out for the love of parents. The natural bonds of mutual affection and concern which normally exist between children and parents give parents an advantage over non-parents. No Education coursework or institutional structure reduce parents' natural advantage.

c) Note that Parent Performance Contracting requires that parents demonstrate competence (children must teat at or above grade-level expectations) before they enter into the contract with the DOE. Even without this requirement, homeschooling works better than conventional schooling because homeschoolers are self-selected.

d) I do not worry much about English fluency. Better that children receive their instruction in their first language. They have the rest of their lives to learn English, and will do this naturally as they engane the wider world. According to Thomas Sowell, there were public schoole in the US in which the language of instruction was German, up to WW I. Will anyone today applaud the deliberate suppression of Native American languages by the BIA schools?

a) Nothing in Hawaii Revised Statutes requires that instruction occur between 8 am and 2:30 pm. Parents can legally extend daycare to age 18 and provide instruction in the evening. I recommend that parents who do not want to surrender their children to the DOE form neighborhood groups and hire one of their number to take six or eight kids into her home. Parents could then select the curriculum and the daycare operator could provide a quiet place to study.

Please read this one page Marvin Minsky comment on school. http://www.rru.com/~meo/hs.minski.html

Please read this article on artificially extended adolescence by Ted Kolderie. http://www.educationevolving.org/pdf/Adolescence.pdf