Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Members, community encouraged to speak up at HIDOE listening sessions on teacher pay

Listening sessions scheduled for Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association encourages members, parents, and other members of the community to attend a series of listening sessions hosted by the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) on teacher pay. The department's goal is to gather feedback to refine and potentially recommend changes to the teacher compensation system.

We appreciate all you have done to spotlight the struggles of being a public school educator in Hawaii. The impact is clear: These sessions would not have been possible without your voice and your actions.

HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said in a message to members:

"Hawaii teachers have long known that when you adjust for cost of living, we are the lowest paid in the nation. But too often, when it comes to salary studies, they never take Hawaii’s high cost of living into account. This is our opportunity to not only advocate for how we should pay educators in Hawaii, but to look at the impact that low salaries have had on our students and teachers.

"We need educators to go to these meetings to talk about the impact our salaries have on them and their students so that when the state is looking at salaries, they can take all of this into mind and adjust for these important needs.

"Ending the teacher shortage crisis in Hawaii would have a direct impact on our students. Our estimate is that 60,000 students go to school every day and don’t have a qualified teacher. And salaries are a huge component of making sure that we have enough teachers in Hawaii, and this is our opportunity to make sure that we make our message clear to the public, to the legislature, to the DOE what is a fair compensation package. And if we don’t show up, and don’t make our voices heard, then we’ve seen in the past that they ignore our concerns, and produce studies that are ineffective in addressing the teacher shortage crisis.

The listening sessions are open to the public and the Department of Education encourages input from all interested community members and/or education practitioners including: school leaders, teachers, instructional staff, central office administrators, students, and other staff.

“Behind every student’s successes are dedicated educators who innovate, collaborate and challenge our students to exceed expectations,” said Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “It is critical that our compensation system supports our ability to attract and retain the highest level of talent. Our community’s feedback is an important part of ensuring that any necessary refinements are done right.”

Rosenlee added:

"HSTA really appreciates that the superintendent has made this a priority, that teacher salaries are important and that she’s funding this teacher salary study.

"In the past, they’ve never asked for teacher input. This is a huge development that they’re even asking teachers to come out and to share what we should be looking at. But if we don’t take advantage of the situation, you know in the past, we’ve had salary studies that say ‘Hawaii’s a beautiful place to live, you should have no problem finding teachers,’ even though we have one of the worst shortage crises in the entire country."

The sessions and subsequent analysis will be conducted by Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, a third-party consultant, to ensure objectivity.

To encourage maximum participation, two listening sessions will be held at the dates and times below in each location on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island. Following a short introduction, attendees will be able to give feedback on how the state’s compensation system should be updated, if needed, to best address the needs of students, educators, schools and districts.

Island Date Time Location
Oahu Monday, Sept. 23 4–5:30 p.m.
6–7:30 p.m.
McKinley Community School for Adults (Room 110)
Tuesday, Sept. 24 4–5:30 p.m.
6–7:30 p.m.
Kapolei High School (Cafeteria)
Maui Wednesday, Sept. 25 4–5:30 p.m.
6–7:30 p.m.
Baldwin High School (Auditorium)
Hawaii Island Thursday, Sept. 26 4–5:30 p.m.
6–7:30 p.m.
Keaau High School (Cafeteria)

For those unable to attend a listening session, an online survey will be open from Sept. 23 through Oct. 6 to gather feedback. This survey will also be open to parents and community members.

Click here to take the survey.