Priorities for HSTA's Government Relations Committee in 2019

How to fund the schools our keiki deserve

The 30th Hawaii State Legislature convenes on Jan. 16, 2019. Here's what HSTA's Government Relations Committee will be advocating during the session, and on all levels of government.

A strong public school system drives a strong, dynamic economy. Providing our keiki with quality public education is everyone’s kuleana (responsibility). We all have an important role in supporting learning opportunities for our children.

Students are the priority. As leaders in education, teachers build strong foundations and inspire the next generation so they may continue to shape and enrich our society.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association is committed to the success of every student and teacher. Providing the best education starts with proper funding and resources. Teachers deserve everyone's support in providing a well-rounded curriculum and learning experience, implementing the best practices, and developing one-on-one connections with every student.

We encourage the community and our decision-makers to join HSTA in advocating for our students and teachers to transform Hawaii’s public schools.

These are our HSTA Government Relations priorities this year based on the results from our membership survey, actions from our HSTA Convention, and general feedback from our members.

Related Story: Hawaii lawmakers address education on opening day of 2019 legislative session

Invest wisely and effectively to meet the basic school needs.

  • Create an additional, dedicated, sustainable funding source for our public schools.
  • Revise Act 51 to change per-pupil funding ratios in rural district schools to fulfill basic necessities including adequate staffing, curriculum, and basic supplies.
  • Fully fund Special Education teaching and support staff positions to meet students needs.
  • Fully fund public charter school facilities.

Enable quality learning experiences.

Empower teachers to innovate by providing academic autonomy to instill a sense of curiosity and joy of learning in our students.

  • Remove state standardized test requirements and allow authentic assessment that focuses on providing learning opportunities and creating well-rounded students.
  • Allocate adequate funding to ensure research-based optimal class size to improve student learning environments and opportunities.
  • Pass legislation that allows parents/ guardians to opt-out of participation in high stakes standardized testing without penalty to schools or students.
  • Expand funding for public preschool.
  • Provide access to high quality sexual health education, substance abuse education, and mental health education and services (including suicide prevention and awareness).

Create an optimal learning environment for our students.

All students deserve safe and inviting classrooms that are conducive to learning.

  • Fund school facility and technology upgrades to create a safe, accessible, and effective learning environment.
  • Fund and maintain classroom climate control and air quality to support a safe and healthy environment for learning in all schools.

Attract and retain the best and brightest to Hawaii’s public education system.

Highly qualified teachers are trusted professionals who understand the classroom, and are best equipped to improve student learning and effect change.

  • Provide competitive salaries and benefits reflecting Hawaii’s high cost of living.
  • Provide paid preparation time, personnel and material resources.
  • Provide professional support including mentoring and a supportive, rather than a punitive, teacher evaluation system collaboratively created under the flexibility of ESSA.
  • Fully fund teaching positions, support staff, professional development, and provide materials for public classrooms to ensure security, quality staffing, and educational resources.
  • Pass legislation to support paid family leave and provide a separate bank of funding for maternity and paternity leave.

Support democracy and unionization.

  • Support amending the Hawaii State Constitution to have an elected Board of Education.
  • Support legislation that will protect and strengthen unions.