Dozens of parents, educators and others gathered at Joint Pearl Harbor Hickam with a chance to ask the education secretary questions about their children’s schooling.
Only months ago, Hawaii did not fare well when it came to the federal government’s “race to the top” program for schools. Since then, Secretary Duncan told us things have changed.
“What I’ve sensed here is a real sense of courage, of willingness to challenge the status quo.” U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.
The audience had questions ranging from how tests are developed to the ability of students to compete on the world stage.
“Be very clear, Hawaii’s still has a long way to go but by virtually measure, Hawaii is one of the fastest improving states in the nation. It’s amazing. And that’s hard work, it’s leadership from the governor all the way down.” Duncan said.
Time after time, Duncan emphasized the importance of early childhood education – and keeping intact extra-curricular programs like music and art. He also said the needs of children in military families are somewhat different since they may transfer schools many times during their academic life.
“But these children deserve the best and we want to be the best partner we can to help these military communities and the children of military families receive the world class education they need and deserve.” Duncan said.
Two elements in the education process – students and the educators are important. But Duncan said the third element, parents, are just as vital.
“Our students need and deserve great teachers and great principals, but we can’t expect them to do it by themselves. So whether it’s being in constant contact with those teachers, being a full and equal partner with the school… Turn off those tv’s at night…sorry to say that on tv….and give them a chance to do their homework and study, parents have to part of the solution.” Duncan said.