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Friday, August 14, 2020
Kishimoto Pushes Back Against HSTA 'Scare Tactics'
By News Release @ 4:17 AM :: 2942 Views :: Education K-12, Labor, COVID-19

Statement from Supt. Christina Kishimoto on HSTA's proposed legal action

Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto responds to legal threat from the teachers union.

(Attn Parents--Tired of these turf battles?  >>> Homeschooling? Hawaii State Library offers free 'Scholastic Teachables')

(Key Concept: Distance Learning is a Threat to Teacher Union Jobs)

News Release from HSTA, 13-Aug-2020

The Hawaii State Teachers Association today threatened to sue the state and the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE), alleging that our school reopening plan is “reckless” — a plan they jointly helped to build — and that our campuses are not safe for students.

Despite the Department’s efforts to work collaboratively and productively with the teachers union, its president Corey Rosenlee continues to work against what is in the best interest of Hawaii’s children under the false pretense of “Schools Our Keiki Deserve.”

What our keiki deserve is time to train and connect with their teachers to prepare before we shift to full distance learning for the next few weeks.

The union’s misleading claim that “tens of thousands” of students will be receiving face-to-face learning on campuses next week is a scare tactic that follows multiple publicity stunts to create further anxiety at a time when we need sound leadership.

As previously announced, our school leaders have designed plans to have students return to campus in a coordinated manner next week, as needed, to connect with their teacher, receive training on distance learning platforms if necessary, and address issues with connectivity and access to technology. In many cases, schools have designated one hour a day for certain grade levels to accomplish this, while enforcing safety protocols around social distancing and face coverings.

Mr. Rosenlee encouraged teachers to show up for paid training days over the past two weeks, and now he is telling teachers not to show up for students. The union demanded this additional training for teachers, at a cost of nine fewer instructional days for students, but is trying to prevent students from having the same opportunity.

Teachers have been back on campus full time since July 29, and we have no evidence of widespread transmission on any of our campuses. We have had individual cases at individual campuses, as we reported earlier this week, and will continue to report on weekly moving forward.

Over the summer months, when we had over 8,000 students engaging in some type of face-to-face or blended summer program, in addition to staff who supported these activities, we saw one case each at six campuses.

We will not allow Mr. Rosenlee to script out the work our principals need to do to lead, nor drive a wedge between our principals and their staff. Our students have physically been out of school since spring break. It’s time we all put the futures of our students first. That’s what our keiki truly deserve.

CB: Department administrators insist it’s just for short online training for students.

  *   *   *   *   *

HSTA, educators respond to inaccurate claims by governor, superintendent

Ige, Kishimoto completely unaware of what’s planned at public schools 

(Attn Parents--Tired of these turf battles?  >>> Homeschooling? Hawaii State Library offers free 'Scholastic Teachables')

News Release from HSTA, August 13, 2020

Today, Gov. David Ige and Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto showed they are completely unaware of what’s planned at public schools starting Monday. Many campuses are planning for students and teachers to return to face-to-face learning, putting their health and lives in jeopardy.

Nothing would make HSTA happier than if their statements were a reality, but teachers have been telling us the exact opposite. If the governor and superintendent support only having students and their parents pick up distance learning materials, they should say that. Otherwise, their claims are disingenuous and worse, dangerous.

In a news conference, Ige claimed students will return to campus “by appointment only” while in a statement, Kishimoto made the claim that students will return to schools in a “coordinated manner” to “receive training on distance learning platforms.” Kishimoto also alleged “in many cases, schools have designated one hour a day” for those purposes.

But teachers have been flooding us with calls, emails, and comments to say those claims just aren’t true. See this Facebook post for a glimpse of what they’re talking about.

At Waipahu High, an educator says more than 2,800 students will be coming on campus in four groups, and “each group of roughly 700 students will come in on one of the four days to see all their teachers and classes.” There are no “appointments" and “we will spend at least 40 minutes in each of the seven periods,” the teacher notes.  Here’s a link to Waipahu’s school plan.

An educator from Oahu’s Moanalua High reports “500 students will show up each day next week, Monday through Thursday, to attend all seven periods and homeroom. No plans have been shared about how before school, recess, etc will be monitored. There are no appointments. Everyone in the group for that day just shows up at the start of the school day.” Here’s a link to Moanalua’s school plan, which includes picture-taking for ninth-graders and new students.

A teacher at Nimitz Elementary on Oahu reports students are arriving on campus in small groups for three hours at a time starting Monday. 

An educator from Maui’s Kihei Elementary said while the superintendent claimed that all schools had received their PPE, their school had not received anything that was ordered. “Now she says all schools have a plan. As of today, our school does not yet have a set plan to give students their computers or materials,” the teacher writes.

At Waikoloa Middle on Hawaii Island, a teacher reports “A or B group will be on campus on Monday or Tuesday. Each group will rotate between campus and attend school from 8 a.m. until 2:15 p.m.”

At Maui’s Wailuku Elementary, a teacher said she will be having “13 kids in her class Monday and Tuesday including recess and lunch, and 12 Wednesday and Friday all day if they show up. I'm not sure when or how lunch and recess will happen, or where families take kids on Monday to enter campus... We've been asking for these things written, but they're still working on it. We've been trying to be understanding and know they're trying to figure it out.”

Another teacher told us Jefferson Elementary on Oahu was planning a face-to-face return, but thanks to the HSTA news conference today, the school’s principal is revising the plan to grab and go.

An educator from Waiakeawaena Elementary on Hawaii Island reports students will spend one full day at school from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. next week. 

The superintendent and the governor are completely ignoring the dire warnings from our hard-working educators and medical experts who say the pandemic poses an imminent threat on our community and schools, especially with 355 new cases of COVID-19 today.

It is impossible to ignore the realities of what is actually happening in our schools. If the governor and the superintendent continue their reckless plans to bring students and teachers on campus, when a student, teacher, staff, and/or beloved family member gets sick or dies, that tragedy will be on their hands.

Join the social media conversation

Let’s continue to fact check the state! If you haven’t already done so, click on your favorite social media platform below and add your comment to our post. Be sure to identify your school and briefly explain your school’s plan for next week. How many students will be face-to-face with you and for how long? Bonus points if you link to your school plan. Mahalo for all your hard work, dedication, and advocacy.

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