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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
DoE's Charter Cap: Another reason Hawaii likely won't get RTTT funds
By News Release @ 2:07 PM :: 10452 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This report is actually good news.  Because of the DoE/HSTA efforts to crush Charter Schools, the DoE has already done enough to make sure that the RTTT funds--and the accountability requirements that come with them--won't be coming to Hawaii.  So they no longer need to force furloughs onto instructional days in order to keep RTTT out.

Explained:   Hamamoto's DoE resignation: To block Lingle's constitutional amendment? 

DoE Interim Sup't Matayoshi can still pretend she is prioritizing RTTT.  The HSTA can give her a huge victory by giving up a few precious planning days.  And the Legislature will drop its plans to amend the State Constitution to place the DoE under the control of the next Governor because Matayoshi seemed to deliver that victory.

The result: Reform stalled for another eight years.  Hawaii DoE and HSTA insulated from the accountability requirements of RTTT.  Hawaii children continue to be failed by the system while even more billions are spent on useless bureaucrats and make work contracting jobs.  Everybody who matters to the Legislature wins!

Will any Legislator introduce a bill lifting the charter cap and mandating equal funding for charters?  Will a bill be introduced bringing Hawaii into compliance with RTTT requirements?

*   *   * 

Hawaii Report Card 70/208 34th in nation: 

Hawaii's charter law was passed in 1994. As of 2009-10, there were 31 charter schools open, serving an estimated 7,741 students. There is a single statewide authorizer, though there is almost no authorizing activity.

Hawaii's law is open to new start-ups, public school conversions, and virtual schools and fares well on its requirements for charter school oversight. However, it needs significant improvement in several areas, including lifting the cap, beefing up the requirements for both charter application, review, and decision making processes and renewal, non-renewal, and revocation processes, and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

RTTT requires: "No limits are placed on the number of public charter schools or students (and no geographic limits)."

But...Hawaii law allows for 25 conversion charter schools and 23 start-up charter schools.  The state has reached its cap on start-up schools, where most of the charter activity has been in the state. However, the law allows the state charter school review panel to authorize one new start-up charter school for each existing start-up charter school that has received a three or more year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or a comparable accreditation authority as determined by the charter school oversight panel.  There are currently 25 start-up charter schools and 6 conversion charter schools.

Report Finds 24 States Risk Race to the Top Funding Because They Are Closed to New, High-Quality Charters

Washington, DC - The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today released the first-ever ranking of all state charter school laws that is based on the full range of values in the public charter school movement: quality and accountability, funding equity, facilities support, autonomy, and growth and choice. 

How State Charter Laws Rank Against The New Model Public Charter School Law,” assesses the strengths of each state’s charter school law against the 20 essential components of a strong law contained in the new model public charter school law released by the Alliance in June 2009. Evaluating each state law against each component – a total of 800 separate ratings – the Alliance ranks each law from strongest to weakest.

“State legislation really sets the bar for the charter school movement,” explained National Alliance President and CEO Nelson Smith.  “When states combine equitable resources, real autonomy, and tough accountability, charter schools flourish and meet the high expectations of parents and policymakers. These new rankings not only show which state laws are making the grade, but also show how they do it: by paying attention to specific issues that are crucial to school and student success.”  

As states prepare to submit applications for the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) grant program, the rankings provide clear indications of where some states excel and others come up short in charter-related policies.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented, "It's very important to have better, clearer charter laws – laws that enable innovation, promote transparency about how charter schools perform and how they are held accountable, and provide fair access to public funds and facilities.  We're encouraged that the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools supports creation of better charter school laws as models of learning, and we encourage authorizers to hold charters accountable for student performance."

The report finds that 13 states fail to meet a key test of the Race to the Top guidelines because they continue to place restrictive caps on charter school growth. They are: Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island. Plus, 11 states still have yet to enact public charter school laws. 

According to the lead author of the report, Alliance Vice President for Policy Todd Ziebarth, these 24 states are closed to new high-quality charters and should be disqualified from the RTTT competition until they significantly improve their laws:  “No matter how strong its policies in other areas, a state that maintains a cap on charter schools – or passes no charter law at all – is a state that is missing a key building block of reform.”

For this analysis, the Alliance weighted each of the 20 essential components from the Alliance’s model law on a scale of “1” to “4.”  Then the Alliance rated each state law on each component on a scale of “0” to “4.”  To obtain each state’s rank, the Alliance multiplied the weight and rating for each component, then added up the scores for each of the 20 components. The highest score possible was 208.

The top ten state laws shown to support the growth of high-quality charter schools are: Minnesota (152), D.C. (131), California (130), Georgia (130), Colorado (128), Massachusetts (125), Utah (123), New York (121), Louisiana (120), and Arizona (120).

The complete analysis can be downloaded at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools web site:

See detailed state-by- state summaries and color-coded maps of how state laws measure against each component at

Join us for a policy briefing 9:00-10:00 am EST Thursday, Jan. 14 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. 

Download:  National Release011310.pdf


ADVERTISER: National charter school alliance says Hawaii laws restrictive

Hawaii was listed with Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Rhode Island — as well as the 11 states that have yet to enact public charter school laws — as states that restrict charter school growth and should be disqualified from RTTT competition.


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