In a joint letter to the U.S. Department of Education, Governor David Ige, Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) Chairperson Lance Mizumoto and Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi voiced concerns about the draft regulations and implementation timeline for the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA). The letter was sent as part of the public comment period for proposed federal regulations, and in response to BOE action on Aug. 16, 2016 in support of a joint letter protesting the implications of the draft regulations.
"The draft regulations being put forward appear to be more prescriptive than the spirit of the law. ESSA was initially returning more control to the states," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "In the letter, we shared our concerns over proposed regulations, which are overly restrictive and harken back to No Child Left Behind's one-size-fits-all approach. Also, the proposed implementation timeline is unrealistic and not conducive to school improvement. Our schools will be developing their academic and financial plans in Spring 2017 in time for the start of school for teachers on Aug. 1, 2017."
This is the first of several anticipated public comment periods for various components of the ESSA law during the rulemaking process. HIDOE anticipates submitting the state's ESSA plan for funding to the U.S. Department of Education by the April 3, 2017 early deadline in preparation for required implementation during the 2017-18 school year.
Hawaii is in the process of taking advantage of flexibility in the ESSA law by reviewing and updating its Strategic Plan so that the state's plan guides federal planning efforts.
Hawaii has served as a model for other states in regards to the outreach being done to solicit feedback for the Strategic Plan, which will inform our state's ESSA plan for federal funding. As part of the review and extension of the joint Strategic Plan with the BOE, HIDOE has been collecting feedback from schools, students, parents and the community that will be incorporated into the ESSA state plan. This includes 1,429 survey responses as well as 108 diverse focus groups conducted statewide with an estimated 1,201 participants. Additionally, the BOE and HIDOE are taking into account the Governor's ESSA Task Force's work as part of the community feedback to shape the Strategic Plan and state's ESSA plan for federal funding.
"While Hawaii is ahead of the curve with our rigorous academic standards and Strive HI accountability system, there is still room for growth and improvement and we are reaching out to the community for feedback," said Assistant Superintendent Tammi Chun. "We will continue our community outreach for the joint Strategic Plan through community meetings from August through October, information gathered will also be considered for the ESSA state plan."
The first BOE community meeting about the Strategic Plan review and update is Wednesday, Aug. 3 in Waimea, Hawaii Island. Click here for more information about these meetings.
For more information about ESSA and its impact in Hawaii, as well as the HIDOE and BOE joint Strategic Plan, visit www.hawaiipublischools.org.