Maui News

Progress Measured In Hawaii Race To the Top Grant

June 22, 2011, 7:05 AM HST
* Updated June 22, 7:30 AM
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By Wendy Osher

An early morning fire on Sunday April 18, 2010 at Kahului School destroyed three classrooms, causing an estimated $500,000 damage. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Federal and state education leaders discussed the direction of Hawai’i’s education system during a series of meetings held this week. The meetings were intended to ensure success in the classroom and monitor the progress of education in Hawaii following the distribution of a $75 million Race to the Top grant.

Hawai’i was one of the 11 states along with the District of Columbia to receive money in the grant competition last year. Since receiving funds, Hawaii officials say the state has made it easier for teachers and principals to access information on students and their progress. Principals are also supplied with data on teachers to ensure qualified individuals are assigned to appropriate subject areas.

A team of leaders from the U.S. Department of Education’s Implementation and Support Unit (ISU) traveled to Honolulu for the two-day on-site program review.

The Race to the Top grant was awarded by the Department in August 2010 to support the state’s comprehensive education reform plan to enhance and elevate student achievement.  Last year, the Department of Education awarded $4 billion in grants to support education reform.


“We are very excited about the challenging work that Hawaii and other Race to the Top grantees are doing,” said ISU Director Ann Whalen.“We are working closely with each State to ensure that they’re receiving the support they need to implement their plans and to create long-lasting reform that benefits students and transforms education across their State.”


“Hawai’i’s unwavering commitment to implementing sustainable reforms to increase student achievement in our public schools is vital to our long-term success,” said Hawai’i Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are actively realigning resources around instruction and learning in the classroom and strengthening our system of support for educators to ensure that there is a highly effective teacher in every classroom and a highly effective principal leading every school,” said Matayoshi.

Governor Neil Abercrombie commended Hawai’i teachers and education leaders this week for the progress they have made saying, “Out of the spotlight, every day, these public servants are working behind-the-scenes and today I believe we’ve proven to the representatives of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that we are actively committed to transforming our educational system.”


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