KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Educational Travel Update
Note: Some of these links take the user away from the HSTA website and may be dated or moved.
The subject of Student Educational Travel and the impact on teachers and students continues to be an issue HSTA is working to address. Continue to follow guidance from the DOE and your administrator. Below is a chronology and update on the issue:
On August 19, 2015, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission (http://ethics.hawaii.gov) filed an Advisory Opinion indicating that teachers may be subject to ethics violations if they were receiving “free” trips related to student educational travel.
The HSTA challenged this opinion by filing a petition on August 26 seeking relief with the Ethics Commission.
The Commission scheduled a hearing on September 16 and HSTA presented arguments to the Commission challenging the advisory opinion. Attorney Colleen Hanabusa represented the Association and the issue was covered by the media.
On October 20, the Board of Education Investigative Committee (investigating Hawaii State Ethics Commission decision, educational travel, and teacher participation findings and recommendations) issued a report on the matter which was adopted by the full Board of Education. As a result in the month of November a number of teachers received notices from the Department of Education advising them of the need to cancel and reorganize their student educational travel trips as private tours.
Last week on December 2, the Ethics commission issued a denial of HSTA’s petition. The HSTA will be exploring legal options to challenge this denial. In addition, last Friday (December 4, 2015) the HSTA filed a Class Grievance on this issue and on Monday (December 7, 2015) filed a prohibited practice with the Hawaii State Labor Board.
HSTA is also working with legislators who are working on a legislative fix to resolve this situation in order to continue offering students expanded learning opportunities via educational travel. We will notify members as additional updates are available.
August 19 2015 Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion http://files.hawaii.gov/ethics/advice/AO2015-1.pdf
August 26, 2015 HSTA Petition http://ethics.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015-08-26Petition.pdf
September 16, 2015 Petition Hearing date http://ethics.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015-09-16NoticeOfHearing.pdf
October 20, 2015 BOE Investigative Committee Report (adopted by BOE at Oct 20, 2015 BOD meeting)
December 2, 2015 Denial of Petition http://ethics.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/2015-12-02_HSTA-OrderDenying.pdf
IN THE NEWS: Ethics Commission limits horizons of Hawaii’s public school students
Read what two teachers say HERE>>>
Read editorial HERE>>>
In the News - Read more HERE>>>