New performance system aims to help Hawaii’s struggling public schools

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Say goodbye to “No Child Left Behind.”

Hawaii is now one of 37 states getting rid of those federal standards, and putting a new system in place.

It’s called the “Strive Hi System,” and the idea is to look at more than just test scores to help students do well in school.

For years, the Hawaii Department of Education has criticized the federal standards as a one size fits all that’s outdated. It just counts reading and math scores to evaluate the schools.

And it’s national target is not always what’s best for Hawaii students.

The DOE says the Strive Hi System will change that and help students get more prepared for college and a career, by using a more customized evaluation.

“You’re gonna see more focus on the common core standards, on the English, Language Arts, Math, you’re gonna start to see a lot more of the project based learning, more hands on interactive work that we’re trying to do to keep students engaged in school,” Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said.

Student test scores will still be counted but the DOE will also measure growth and improvement.

Parent Kathy Bryant says, “As a parent you want to be held accountable for how your child’s doing over time, not just did they get X score on a test, so I think measuring growth instead of just a raw cut score really makes a difference.”

Bryant is with a group called HEE, which stands for Hui for Excellence in Education, a coalition of 40 parent and community organizations that worked with the DOE on the system.

Bryant says it’s an improvement from the federal standards but other parents question if Hawaii’s standards will be as good as the rest of the country.

“As a military family, I’m moving from state to state and I’d like to know what my kids are supposed to know in school versus where they came from,” said parent Davina Nelson.

The schools superintendent says the core standards will be similar to most of the other states.

So students who do well here will do well anywhere else.

Schools in general like the idea although they’re still trying to figure out what it all means. as for the teachers, the union, HSTA, says it will sit down with the DOE to help with the process.

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