Board Candidates on Olelo

The public-access channel Olelo recorded videos of all willing candidates for office in Hawaii and presents Board of Education candidate videos here. Does this format provide useful information? Olelo gave each candidate five minutes. It's asking a lot from people to expect that they sit through one hour of self-promotinal monologue.

Perhaps the Star-Advertiser's voters' guide will present a more accessible summary of candidates' strengths and weaknesses. Some candidate information here.

In a voucher-subsidized competitive market in education services, legislators would determine the level of per-pupil support, parents would evaluate schools, and voters could ignore the issue of school administration.

Alfred North Whitehead observed that civilization advances by the number of things that we can ignore.


The Fraud of Race to the Top

Remember the Clinton era Goals 2000? The US was to be first in the world in science and math. The legislation involved lots of lofty proclamations and little substance. Nothing has changed in the world of government schooling flackery except increasing growth in the bureaucracy and budget. Except for the positive assessment of Fordham, this analysis of Race to the Top gets everything right.
Update: Add this.



originally uploaded by malcolmkirkpatrick.
Between 1987 and 1997 most schools in the Hawaii DOE followed a September through June schedule. Juvenile arrests fall when school is not in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma fall when school is not in session. Reported house burglaries fall when school is not in session (car burglaries rise).

Schools do not prevent crime; they cause it.



Sex I.D.
Your empathy score is: 5 out of 20
Average score for men: 7.9 out of 20
Average score for women: 10.6 out of 20
On standardized measures of social skills your humble narrator ranks somewhere between clam and desert reptile.


August 23 Forum Flier

This arrived in the inbox this morning.
Candidate Forums on EDUCATION

The recent Furlough Friday crisis has reminded us all that our elected leaders matter! Come and hear what candidates for the offices most directly responsible for Hawaii’s public education system have to say in response to our most pressing questions.

Community organizations focusing on education will be holding a series of three candidate forums at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus:

• Board of Education At-Large candidates, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mon. Aug. 23
• Lieutenant Governor candidates, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mon. Sept. 6, Labor Day
• Governor candidates, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sun. Sept 12

This is the only candidate forum for BOE offices, and is a unique opportunity to learn about and have your questions answered by a panel of 10 confirmed candidates. The public (parents, students, concerned citizens) are invited to submit questions at www.sos808.org.

The moderator will be Neal Milner, former ombuds for UH Manoa, professor of Political Science, and political commentator. The Architecture Building is on University Ave, across from the Atherton YMCA (corner of Metcalf). Street parking is free after 6pm, and a pay lot is availableadjacent to the building. Parking is free on Sundays and Holidays.

All fora are free and open to the public. The events will be broadcast on ‘Olelo. Please check www.sos808.org for updates.

Hosted by Save Our Schools Hawaii, the committee organizing a Hawai’i chapter of Parents for Public Schools, and the American Studies Graduate Students Association of UH.

Marguerite Higa

Corey Rosenlee

April Bautista

Save Our Schools Hawaii

S.O.S. Hawaii stands with Hawaii's public and charter school children and teachers. We are united behind one promise: we will do all we can to make sure Hawaii's keiki and teachers are valued, prioritized, and that education is sustainably funded. We believe that investing in education today supports all of Hawai'i for tomorrow.
April Kamilah B. Bautista


Think On This

Just go to Sunshine's blog (sidebar) and browse "Iraqi Blogs I like". Notice something? Comfortable Americans, think on this. For some people, daily life is heroic when compared to the average American life.


Two Proofs by Contradiction

After the fall of the Soviet State the British poet and historian of that State, Robert Conquest, wrote that the West had, as yet, incompletely learned two important lessons: the limits to the amount of good that organized violence (the State) can accomplish, and the stultifying effects of bureaucracy, public and private. The force of law is a blunt instrument. The enormous diversity of individual students' interests and abilities and the enormous diversity of their future career paths make the education industry an unlikely candidate for government control. Yet in the US, State Constitutions, State statutes, and policies in many school districts restrict parents' options for the use of the taxpayers' education subsidy to schools operated by State (government, generally) employees. The term "the public school system" designates those provisions in State Constitutions, those State statutes, and those district policies. Arguments in defense of these restrictions policies fail, as two proofs by contradiction indicate.

The State (government, generally) cannot support education without a definition of "education". Curriculum standards define education. If the "public school system" is not an employment program for dues-paying members of the NEA/AFT/AFSCME cartel, a source of padded construction and supply contracts for politically-connected insiders, and a venue for State-worshipful indoctrination, why cannot any student take, at any time and at any age, an exit exam (the GED will do) and apply the taxpayers' education subsidy toward post-secondary tuition or toward a wage subsidy at any qualified private-sector employer? If it is fraud for a mechanic to charge for the repair of a functional motor and if it is fraud for a physician to charge for the treatment of a healthy patient, then it is fraud for a teacher, school, school district,or State to charge for the instruction of a student who does not need help.

According to the Common Core mission statement:
The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
If "education", as defined by curriculum standards, is really so important, why do these people oppose restrictions on immigration? Do they imagine that immigrant Central Americans enter the US fully informed of the US History standards and the English Language Arts standards?

Either immigration is a threat or education, as the NEA, the AFT, and the Common Core define it, is not necessary. Or both.


Education Under Obama

Joanne linked this...
"It could have been worse." How?

I can see November from my house.


Hawaii Reporter Questionnaire

By now, readers can predict my answers to most questions which reporters pose in candidate surveys. The only real point of interest is the questions themselves.

A Hawaii Reporter reporter sent the below.

1.Curriculum and Student Achievement: ...Do you favor the implementation of a sequential, quality, K-12 curriculum that would tie to the state’s standards and that would allow graduates to be college-ready?

No. Children are not standard. The "standard" with the best chance of improving system performance is the parent standard: "Do I want my child in that school?" I support open enrollment across school complex areas, credit by exam for all courses required for graduation, and access to an exit exam (the GED will do) which students may take at any age, at any time.

2. Teacher and Principal Compensation: The American Federation of Teachers finds that Hawaii’s teacher starting compensation package equals $52,150, with an average of $72,682, with principals’ average compensation package at $147,000. Should teacher and principal salaries be based on seniority or performance and outcomes? Should principal performance contracts, as required under Act 51, passed in 2004, be required?

Undecided. I do not see how anyone would assess the performance of an Art teacher, for example. "What works?" is an empirical question which only an experiment can answer. In the realm of public policy, this means numerous local policy regimes or a competitive market in goods and services. A State-monopoly provider is like an experiment with one treatment and no controls: a retarded experimental design.

3. Per pupil expenditures: Hawai‘i was 13th highest among the 50 states in per-student expenditures in 2006-07: $11,060 versus a national average of $9,666. Last year, when all spending is included, Hawaii had a per-student annual spending of about $16,000. Should the Weighted Student Formula funding be increased from .49 on each dollar to ensure that more of the budget gets to schools and classrooms? Why are why not?

The location of an expense is an ambiguous concept. State-level negotiations between the Board, the Department of Budget and Finance and the HSTA produce the teacher contract. Is a teacher's paycheck a school-level expense? If the Board demands that Moanalua Intermediate hire some politician's nitwit cousin on a $50,000 do-nothing consulting contract, is this a school level expense? If the Accounting Branch puts a downtown furniture purchase on Nanakuli's budget, is this a school-level expense?

4. Staffing Formulas: Act 51 implemented a weighted student formula and requires principals spend 70 percent of the DOE operating budget, excluding debt service and capital expenditures. However, the BOE still negotiates labor agreements that include employee ratio formulas, preventing principals from making autonomous hiring decisions. Do you favor eliminating employee ratio formulas in union contracts to allow principals to make hiring decisions? Why or why not?

I favor creation of independent complex-level districts and negotiation of contracts at the complex level. Abolish the Teacher Standards Board. Principals should have the power to build their team.

5. Reliable and Transparent Data: The State Auditor found that the DOE is unable to allocate costs properly and the DOE admits their information system needs replaced in order to provide the public, Legislature and department managers with data that will allow them to make timely decisions. What improvements would you make to get the following information to the public: (1) how much money is expended each year within the entire education system, (2) how much of that money is spent in the classroom, (3) how many people work for the DOE and what positions do they hold, and (4) how many of those employees are classroom teachers who report to a principal?

When a Republican became Governor, the Legislature (D) passed Act 51, which removed DOE finances from outside supervision. Repeal Act 51. Abolish the Board of Education. Remove from the Department of Education all authority over school operations. Transfer to County councils the authority to create school districts at the County level or below. Fund school districts on a per-pupil basis from the General Fund, with funds passing through a (very small) State-level Department of Education.

Real classroom teachers can be counted through student schedules. I have done this for one school. The computer which prints report cards could do this for the entire DOE.

6. Fiscal Autonomy : Should the Legislature would be required to provide lump-sum budgets to the DOE/BOE and the Governor could restrict spending, if at all, only on a lump-sum basis, to allow the DOE fiscal autonomy similar to the University of Hawai‘i?


Likewise, should the BOE limit the use of categorical funding and instead provide lump-sum funding to schools or communities that may then choose to purchase centralized DOE or private services?


7. Procurement: In 2009, the State Auditor issued a report on the DOE’s procurement practices involving $840 million in facilities money and revealed potentially fraudulent or unethical behavior and a lack of controls and indifference towards procurement compliance. Do you favor implementing internal controls in this department, with corrective or disciplinary procedures for procurement violations?


Would you begin by investigating why many schools do not have soap, paper towels and adequate toilet paper? Why or why not?

There are bigger issues. We know from the Federal investigation into the Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division how insiders rigged the competitive bid process. Ten years ago, the DOE spent over $200,000 per room to build classroom buildings. This looks excessive for a row of 30'x40'x10' concrete boxes eight units long and three tiers high.

8. Decentralization or Community-Centered Schools: Given that communities in all other states have local control over their schools, do you favor a community-centered school system with control over 90 percent of their community k-12 school budget? Would you favor the BOE limiting itself to developing academic standards and holding accountable community-level school governance?

Abundant evidence supports local control of school. A State-level serves no purpose. Students, parents, real classroom teachers, and taxpayers would benefit if the State-level Department of Education had responsibility for funding and financial oversight only.

9. Charter School Cap: Should the cap on the number of charter schools be lifted with student funding that is equal to other public schools, including money for facilities?

Yes. Further, any 501(c)3 organization should have authority to establish a charter school, and the law should provide for representation elections at individual charter schools.

10. Pension Reform: Last year, $417 million of the DOE’s budget was consumed by pension or employee burden costs. Would you implement any pension reforms that would lessen these costs? If so, what would they be?

The answer is on the dollar bill: "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private". Pay teachers in cash and let them allot their pay to food, rent, health care, and retirement plans as they see fit.


Inquiring Minds

Since they ask (the Star-Advertiser survey):...

Occupation and employer: Math tutor. Self-employed.
Job history past 10 years: Math tutor, self-employed.
Ever run for public office? When? Outcome?:
1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008. 0/6.
Other civic experience or community service: US Navy. Community workday volunteer.
Anything else you'd like voters to know about you?: DOE teacher (high school Math), 1982-1995. Blog: The Harriet Tubman Agenda.

Q: 1) What qualifies you to be a member of the Board of Education?
1. I'm a citizen of Hawaii, over 18 and a non-felon. That is all that the law requires.
2. No one is qualified to take education decisions away from parents. This job should not exist. My qualification is that I understand this.

Q: 2) What do schools need to do to better prepare students for careers and college in the 21st century?
Schools need to operate in a competitive environment in which schools offer a variety of courses and methods of instruction. The one-size-fits-all State-monopoly school system guarantees, for most students, a poor match between the individual student's interests and abilities, on the one hand, and the school's curriculum and method of instruction, on the other.

Q: 3) Do you agree the Department of Education should undergo an independent audit of its financials and operations?
Yes. It does not take 12 years at $12,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Outside the US, other countries get better results for less than 1/2 what Hawaii's taxpayers spend, per pupil. In 1996, the Singapore TIMSS 8th grade Math 5th (fifth) percentile score was higher than the US 50th (fiftieth) percentile score.

Q: 4) How would you propose the department go about turning around low-performing schools?
1.Abolish the Teacher Standards Board. Allow principals to determine teacher credential requirements.
2. Offer credit by exam for all courses.
3. Mandate that schools must hire parents, on personal service contracts, to provide for their children's education, if the parents apply for the contract. Make payment contingent on performance on commercially available standardized tests.

Q: 5) Many are calling for more accountability at the school level for student achievement. How would you go about making that accountability a reality?
Internal accountability mechanisms inevitably fail. The most effective accountability system that humans have yet devised is a policy which gives to unhappy customers the power to take their business elsewhere. Subsidize parent control of education. Homeschooling, vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools.

Q: 6) What solutions should the board be considering as it attempts to improve student achievement during tough fiscal times?
Credit by exam for all courses required for graduation. Offer the GED at any age and subsidize early college admission or private-sector employment at 1/2 the DOE per pupil budget. Subsidize homeschooling at 1/2 the DOE per pupil budget. Abolish the Teacher Standards Board.

Q: 7) Some have argued that the Department of Education spends too much money at the central level and not enough at the school level. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Yes and no. If the Legislature, the Board, or the HSTA contract mandates a school-level expense, is this money spent "at the school level"? If the Board mandates that a school hire some politician's cousin on a $50,000 do-nothing consulting contract, is this a "school-level" expense? If the Accounting branch puts downtown furniture on Nanakuli's budget, is this a school-level expense?

Q: 8) How many children do you have, and do they attend public or private school?
I have no children. I would homeschool if I did. In Hawaii, juvenile arrests fall when school is not in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma fall when school is not in session.

Olelo Presentation

The public-access cable station Olelo invites candidates for office to tape a brief campaign pitch. Here's mine.
I'm Malcolm Kirkpatrick, and I want your vote, for Board of Education.

The Hawaii Department of Education operates the ninth largest school district in the US. Standardized test scores put Hawaii in the national cellar. Of course, standardized tests are not the only measure of school performance. In Hawaii, juvenile arrests fall when school is NOT in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma fall when school is NOT in session. Schools do not prevent crime; they cause it.

Taxpayers supply the Hawaii DOE with over 2 billion dollars every year, over ten thousand dollars per pupil. More than 20,000 people work for the Hawaii DOE. How is it that so many people, with such vast resources, accomplish so little? I think I know.

Numerous lines of evidence support the following generalizations:

First: As institutions take from individual parents the power to determine for their own children the choice of curriculum and the pace and method of instruction, overall system peformance falls.

Second: Political control of school harms most the children of the least politically adept parents.

Mohandas Gandhi opposed compulsory attendance at school. Albert Einstein opposed compulsory attendance at school.

Thomas Edison was homeschooled and started work at 13. Hyram Maxim left school and apprenticed at 14. David Farragut joined the US Navy at 9, went to sea at 11, and commanded his first ship at 15.

It does not take 12 years at $10,000 per pupil-year to teach a normal child to read and compute. Most vocational training occurs more effectively on the job than in a classroom. Government provision of History and Civics instruction is a threat to democracy, just as government operation of newspapers would be and is, in totalitarian countries like North Korea and Cuba.

What we in the US call "the public school system" originated in religious intolerance and anti-Catholic bigotry. In Hawaii, Congregational missionaries established schools to convert the pagans, and the plantation aristocracy used school taxes to drive native Hawaiians out of the subsistence economy and into the cash economy.

The Hawaii "public" school system has become an employment program for dues-paying members of the HSTA, the HGEA, and the UPW, a source of padded construction and supply contracts for politically-connected insiders, and a venue for State-worshipful indoctrination. If this is not so, why cannot any student take, at any age, an exit exam (the GED will do) and apply the taxpayers' $10,000 per year education subsidy toward post-secondary tuition or toward a wage subsidy at any private-sector employer?

In 1993, when Ben Cayetano was Lieutenant Governor, he said "We cannot afford to waste another generation of school kids". Since then, we have wasted another generation of school kids.

Will the current crop of politicians fix this wastful system? No, there's too much money in it. To fix this system voters must elect, to the Legislature and the Board of Education, majorities who favor vouchers, tuition tax credits, or other forms of parent control. They must also elect Governors who favor parent control until a majority of the appointed Hawaii Supreme Court justices favor parent control. In the most optimistic scenario, this is more than 12 years away.

If you have children, you cannot afford to wait. For your children's sake, please homeschool. As Gandhi observed, parents are the natural teachers of children. Nothing in Hawaii law requires that homeschooling instruction occur between 8 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. It is legal to extend daycare to age 18 and homeschool in the evening.

My name is Malcolm Kirkpatrick. I support school vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits, homeschooling, and other forms of parent control. Please give me your support. Thank you for you attention.