The Hawaii State Teachers Association Board of Directors voted unanimously Saturday to advocate that the Hawaii Board of Education not renew the employment contract of Dr. Christina Kishimoto for superintendent of the Department of Education. Her current contract expires July 31.
HSTA’s Board of Directors consists of active members who are elected to these leadership positions in every HSTA chapter across the state. On Aug. 15, 2020, the HSTA board adopted NB-13, which expressed no confidence in Kishimoto’s leadership to safely reopen schools.
On Saturday, the board voted to oppose a new contract for Kishimoto, finding that throughout the pandemic, she has:
- Shown unwillingness to respect and honor her legal obligation to engage in consultation and/or bargaining with the HSTA, but instead has chosen mandates (3/17/20 first prohibited practice complaint).
- Been rated marginal by the Board of Education on her 2020 year-end evaluation on operations, resource, and personnel management while she rated herself highly effective for that category (5/21/20).
- Refused to enforce mask use and six-foot distancing until instructed to do so by the Board of Education (7/9/20 six feet, 7/30/20 masks).
- Refused to allow teachers and other employees time in the fall to prepare for distance instruction during the pandemic until directed to do so by the BOE following a public outcry by our members (7/30/20).
- Violated HSTA’s contract and refused to bargain after unilaterally announcing all schools would be on distance learning because of rising COVID-19 cases (8/7/20 Oahu, 8/11/20 Hawaii, Kauai, Maui except Hana and Molokai), eventually leading HSTA to file a prohibited practice complaint (PPC) with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. Only after the PPC was filed did the HIDOE agree to engage in impact bargaining, however there has been very little effort to resolve the outstanding issues (8/13/20).
- Refuses to release COVID-19 case counts by school (9/17/20 to present).
- Refused to implement consistent and transparent procedures related to telework approvals until instructed to do so by the BOE (10/1/20). Even after publishing clearer guidelines (10/7/20), teachers without any in-person instruction responsibilities were still being forced to report.
- Shown little to no interest in successor bargaining (on the contract that follows our current agreement that expires June 30) as she only briefly made opening comments for the first session then left and did not even show up for the second bargaining session (12/10/20, 1/29/21).
- Prioritized using federal stimulus funds for tutors over maintaining current school-level employees and positions (1/21/21).
- Without notice to the HSTA or the BOE, unilaterally announced she planned to terminate shortage differentials to teachers in special education, Hawaiian language immersion, and hard-to-staff schools, even though the differentials had shown remarkable success and federal stimulus money could be utilized to cover the costs (2/9/21).
- Refuses to follow state Department of Health guidelines and metrics to move to safer models as they are published weekly by island (ongoing).
- Repeatedly failed to provide adequate and clear communication to HIDOE employees on a timely basis (ongoing).
On Monday, a survey was released that found a majority of public school principals across the state — 58 percent — said HIDOE did not do well providing them with information they could communicate to students, parents and school communities during COVID-19. Less than one-third of the principals agreed with the statements “HIDOE works in a timely and structured way to support my school” (28 percent) and “Communication from HIDOE to principals is timely and responsive” (23 percent).
The survey was commissioned by The Learning Coalition, a philanthropic organization supporting community engagement and public education.
Follow the discussion during Thursday’s BOE meetings
At the Board of Education Human Resources Committee meeting, which starts at 11 a.m. Thursday, members will vote on whether to recommend a new contract for Superintendent Kishimoto. Association leaders will provide testimony, and HSTA will stream the discussion live on Facebook and YouTube.
Then, at its general business meeting on Thursday afternoon, the BOE will hear and discuss a presentation from the Hawaii State Department of Education on “strategies for safe reopening of elementary and secondary schools to more in-person learning for fourth quarter.”
This is only a discussion. The board will not vote or take any action Thursday to bring more students back to campuses. We will also stream the general business meeting on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.
View the following Board of Education meeting agendas for Thursday, March 4: