Ed in '08: Hawaii Board of Education (2)

At least twenty years must pass before the political system of Hawaii reforms the Hawaii Department of Education. Effective political reform will require:
1) A majority on the Board in favor of policies which give to individual parents the power to determine which institution (if any) shall receive the taxpayers' K-12 education subsidy.
2) A majority in the Legislature in favor of parent control.
3) A Hawaii Supreme Court which puts the interests of families and taxpayers, or a normal iterpretation of the law, above the interests of the public-sector unions and other contractors to the current system.

Provision #3, above, will require Governors who appoint judges who do not contort the law in favor of public-sector unions or other contractors to the system, and confirmation by a legislature similarly disposed. This must occur for long enough that the current Hawaii Supreme Court has been replaced by judges more concerned for the law and for children than for contractors' bank balances. This is decades away.

School voucher legislation will require a Constitutional amendment. The Hawaii Constitution, Article X section 1) says:
Section 1. The State shall provide for the establishment, support and control of a statewide system of public schools free from sectarian control, a state university, public libraries and such other educational institutions as may be deemed desirable, including physical facilities therefor. There shall be no discrimination in public educational institutions because of race, religion, sex or ancestry; nor shall public funds be appropriated for the support or benefit of any sectarian or nonsectarian private educational institution, except that proceeds of special purpose revenue bonds authorized or issued under section 12 of Article VII may be appropriated to finance or assist:

1. Not-for-profit corporations that provide early childhood education and care facilities serving the general public; and
2. Not-for-profit private nonsectarian and sectarian elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities.
Although Parent Performance Contracting (PPC) would require no new legal authority (the DOE already hires service providers on personal service contracts), the public-sector unions would certainly take PPC to court. If the Board enacts PPC, the current crop of judges would rule that the program needed legislative approval. If the legislature mandates PPC, the court would rule that PPC was properly the Board's responsibility. PPC just might win in court if both the Legislature and the Board endorse it, but even that is uncertain and in any case that will not happen soon.

To design reform policies for a political environment in which system insiders and Hawaii judges support parent control or, at least, do not oppose it, is to design policy for a dreamworld. UPW State Director Gary Rodrigues served three successive terms on the Judicial Selection Commission. The damage which system insiders (politicians, public-sector unions, Professors of Education, and contractors) inflict on children, families, and taxpayers might as well occur on the other side of the Earth for all the impact it has on insiders' comfortable air-conditioned lives. When was the last time you wept for cyclone victims in Bangladesh?

Responsible parents will not rely on politicians to fix this broken system. A loving mother can teach her child to read (decode the phonetic alphabet) before that child can speak. Homeschool. Parents need not sacrifice an income to homeschool, since nothing in Hawaii Revised Statutes requires that instruction occur between 8:00 am. and 2:30 pm. As I read it, parents can legally extend daycare to age 18 and provide instruction in the evening.

[§302A-1132] Attendance compulsory; exceptions. (a) Unless excluded from school or excepted from attendance, all children who will have arrived at the age of at least six years, and who will not have arrived at the age of eighteen years, by January 1 of any school year, shall attend either a public or private school for, and during, the school year, and any parent, guardian, or other person having the responsibility for, or care of, a child whose attendance at school is obligatory shall send the child to either a public or private school. Attendance at a public or private school shall not be compulsory in the following cases:...
(4) Where the child has graduated from high school;

(5) Where the child is enrolled in an appropriate alternative educational program as approved by the superintendent or the superintendent's authorized representative in accordance with the plans and policies of the department, or notification of intent to home school has been submitted to the principal of the public school that the child would otherwise be required to attend in accordance with department rules adopted to achieve this result;...
Consider this carefully: "or notification of intent to home school has been submitted to the principal of the public school that the child would otherwise be required to attend in accordance with department rules adopted to achieve this result..." "This result" means "attendance at 'the public school that the child would otherwise be required to atend' ". All that is required is "notification". Nothing in this statute authorizes the DOE to impose on parents a requirement that instruction occur between 8:00 am. and 2:30 pm.

Provision 4, above, offers some children an alternative escape route. Some countries condition high school graduation on an exit exam (e.g., the British A-level exams). Parents could take a vacation to such a country and return to Hawaii with a 14-year-old high school graduate, exempt from compulsory attendance.

Why bother? This is what system insiders and their media shills defend.

Roland Meighan, "Home-based Education Effectiveness Research and Some of its Implications", Educational Review, Vol. 47, No.3, 1995.
The issue of social skills. One edition of Home School Researcher, Volume 8, Number 3, contains two research reports on the issue of social skills. The first finding of the study by Larry Shyers (1992) was that home-schooled students received significantly lower problem behavior scores than schooled children. His next finding was that home-schooled children are socially well adjusted, but schooled children are not so well adjusted. Shyers concludes that we are asking the wrong question when we ask about the social adjustment of home-schooled children. The real question is why is the social; adjustment of schooled children of such poor quality?

The second study, by Thomas Smedley (1992), used different test instruments but comes to the same conclusion, that home-educated children are more mature and better socialized than those attending school...
12. So-called 'school phobia' is actually more likely to be a sign of mental health, whereas school dependancy is a largely unrecognized mental health problem...
San Francisco Chronicle 2005-Nov.-01
The UC Berkeley-Stanford study found that all children who attended preschool at least 15 hours a week displayed more negative social behaviors such as trouble cooperating or acting up, when compared with their peers. The discrepancies were most pronounced among children from higher-income families...
Children from lower-income families lagged behind their peers who didn't attend preschool an average of 7 percentage points on the measure of social behavioral growth. But children from higher-income families lagged 9 percentage points behind their peers. These wealthier children did even worse when they attended preschool for 30 hours or more: They trailed their peers by 15 percentage points...
"It's not clear why children from higher-income families exhibit more negative behaviors than their stay-at-home peers. Fuller speculated their peers might be in enriching home environments that include things like trips to the library as well as dance and music lessons. Other studies have found childcare centers negatively affect children's social development", said Jay Belsky, director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues at Birkbeck University of London, in an e-mail interview.
"It is time to come to grips with what all too many have denied for all too long, namely, that all disconcerting news about adverse effects cannot be attributed to low-quality care, which has been more or less the mantra of the field of child development and the child-care advocacy community for decades", Belsky said.
Clive Harber, "Schooling as Violence", p. 9, Educatioinal Review V. 54, #1.
Furthermore, according to a report for UNESCO, cited in Esteve (2000), the increasing level of pupil-teacher and pupil-pupil violence in classrooms is directly connected with compulsory schooling. The report argues that institutional violence against pupils who are obliged to attend daily at an educational centre until 16 or 18 years of age increases the frustration of these students to a level where they externalise it...

"...It is almost certainly more damaging for children to be in school than to out of it. Children whose days are spent herding animals rather than sitting in a clasroom at least develop skills of problem solving and independence while the supposedly luckier ones in school are stunted in their mental, physical, and emotional development by being rendered pasive, and by having to spend hours each day in a crowded classroom under the control of an adult who punishes them for any normal level of activity such as moving or speaking."
Kohn, "Constant Frustration and Occasional Violence", American School Board Journal, September 1999.
(Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education, Stanford University): "...(M)any well-known adolescent difficulties are not intrinsic to the teenage years but are related to the mismatch between adolescents' developmental needs and the kinds of experiences most junior high and high schools provide. When students need close affiliation, they experience large depersonalized schools; when they need to develop autonomy, they experience few opportunities for choice and punitive approaches to discipline..."
Karen Brockenbrough, Dewey G. Cornell, Ann B. Loper, "Aggressive Attitudes Among Victims of Violence at School", Education and the Treatment of Children, V. 25, #3, Aug., 2002.
Violence at school is a prevalent problem. According to a national survey of school proncipals (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1998), over 200,000 serious fights or physical attacks occurred in public schools during the 1996-1997 school year. Serious violent crimes occurred in approximately 12% of middle schools and 13% of high schools. Student surveys (Kann et al, 1995) indicate even higher rates of aggressive behavior. Approximately 16.2% of high school students nationwide reported involvement in a physical fight at school during a 30-day period, and 11.8% reported carrying a weapon on school property (Kann et al, 1995).
Research on victims of violence at school suggests that repeated victimization has detrimental effects on a child's emotional and social development.

Please read this one page Marvin Minsky comment on school.
Please read this article on artificially extended adolescence by Ted Kolderie.

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