Neighbor island ESSA town halls start Monday

Calling all teachers! HSTA, the State Senate and State Sen. Michelle Kidani, a member of the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act Task Force, invite you to town hall meetings on the neighbor islands several nights next week to learn more about ESSA and to hear from guest speaker Lee Posey, a lobbyist who specializes in education.

Hawaii Island’s town hall will be held Monday, July 11 at Hilo High School, Maui’s town hall is Tuesday, July 12 at Baldwin High School and Kauai’s town hall will be Wednesday, July 13 at Kapaa Elementary School cafeteria, which is connected to Kauai High School. Each event is offered free of charge and will run from 5 to 7 p.m..

Posey is a federal affairs counsel with the education committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). She lobbies on education, representing state positions and concerns to Congress and to President Obama’s administration. She was NCSL’s chief lobbyist on ESEA reauthorization.

At NCSL since 1999, Posey has worked on a variety of issues including TANF, federal childcare grants, child welfare, child support, food and nutrition program, agriculture and rural development. Before going to work at NCSL, she was a policy analyst for the Georgia State Senate, focusing on education and early childhood issues.

Please encourage anyone who’s interested in improving public education in Hawaii to attend this event, including fellow teachers, students, parents, community members, business leaders and other stakeholders.

For more information on next week’s town hall meetings, email Kidani at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or HSTA Teacher Lobbyist Mitzie Higa at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

In a separate but related effort, the state’s ESSA task force will conduct town halls across Hawaii starting with the first ones July 27 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Kapolei High School on Oahu and Kealakehe High School on the Kona side of the Big Island.

HSTA urges teachers to learn about ESSA at next week’s town halls and then attend the state’s town hall meetings so the community can hear a strong teacher voice on what improvements are needed in public schools statewide.

“We have heard from so many teachers who have felt out-of-control in their classrooms because of so many difficulties including too much emphasis on standardized testing,” said HSTA President Corey Rosenlee. “They want more say in what happens in their classrooms. This is their first chance to do that. We ask teachers to be  leaders in their classrooms, schools and communities to speak up and help shape the educational future of our state.”