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Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Aiona: Schools’ RTTT finalist selection “a significant step in the right direction”
By News Release @ 1:42 PM :: 8592 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics


HONOLULU - Lt. Governor Duke Aiona today issued the following statement regarding Hawai‘i being one of 19 finalists in the second round of federal "Race to the Top" competitive grants being offered by the U.S. Department of Education to support education reform efforts.

“Hawai‘i’s Race to the Top application represents a collaborative effort among our Administration, the Hawai‘i Department of Education, non-profit organizations, legislators and community leaders.

“I am proud that we have set specific benchmarks for high school graduation rates, teacher performance, and student test scores which will allow the public to measure whether we are meeting our public education goals.

“This application demonstrates our commitment to assist struggling schools, improve school performance from kindergarten to college, and ensure that all of our students are equipped and prepared to enter both college and the working environment.

“It's one thing to say education is going to improve, and it's entirely different to actually do it. This application is a significant step in the right direction, and we will continue to work each day to improve our schools and set a course to a brighter future for our children.”

Lt. Governor Aiona's policy agenda for education includes his strong support for implementation of "Race to the Top" educational reforms. Hawai`i's application for $75 million in federal funds being offered by the U.S. Department of Education focuses on four education areas: adopting standards and assessments that prepare Hawai`i's students to succeed in college and the workplace; building data systems that measure student growth and success; recruiting, developing, rewarding and retaining effective teachers and principals; and providing targeted support to struggling schools and students.

More information about Lt. Governor Duke Aiona's policy agenda for education reform can be found online at




Lynn Finnegan offers personal participation to highlight strong collaboration in education reform 

HONOLULU - Lynn Finnegan, House Minority Leader and candidate for Lt. Governor, issued the following statement today, praising Hawaii being named as a finalist for the federal Race to the Top education grants: 

"I am extremely excited and proud for the people of Hawaii - and clearly the keiki of Hawaii - that our state has been selected as a finalist in the Phase 2 Race to the Top grant competition. In my role as the current Minority Leader, I would be pleased to join officials of Lingle-Aiona Administration and the Dept. of Education, at my own expense, to represent the House of Representatives, as part of Hawaii's delegation to Washington the week of August 9.  

"I have been involved with public education and initiaiting true reform in our education system for nearly a decade of public service, beginning as a parent board member on my children's charter school board and continuing in my role as Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.   

"I believe it is our shared responsibility and obligation to ensure all bases are covered and more importantly, that federal officials know that Race to the Top is a collaborative effort in Hawaii.  The types of true reform embedded in Race to the Top and the support of federal funds with which to make them happen, will only move forward with a comprehensive, collaborative effort and balanced participation from all segments in our state.  

"I have a proven record of results working across party lines to benefit the students of Hawaii and look forward to being a strong part of Hawaii's team in this all too important race - a race Hawaii can and should win." 

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HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle issued the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Education announced Hawai‘i is among 18 states and the District of the Columbia to be selected as a Round 2 finalist in the Race to the Top grant competition.

“The selection of Hawai‘i as Round 2 Race to the Top finalist by the U.S. Department of Education reflects the hard work by the Hawai‘i Department of Education, Board of Education, my Administration and the community to develop an application package that outlines a clear plan with specific benchmarks to raise student performance and help struggling schools.  

“Whether or not Hawai‘i receives Race to the Top funds, we are committed to implementing the initiatives detailed in our application plan.  The goals laid out in our application are achievable and the strategies for meeting these goals will give our schools the tools and resources to help students be successful in the classroom while preparing them for their future careers.

“We will continue to work closely with the DOE and BOE over the next two weeks to prepare our state’s presentation to the U.S. DOE in order to demonstrate Hawai‘i’s vision for education and our plan for achieving meaningful education reform.”




HONOLULU -- Hawaii State Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi issued the following statement today regarding Hawaii's selection as a finalist for the second phase of the federal Race to the Top program:

"Hawaii's finalist Race to the Top application outlines clear and bold reforms to ensure all students succeed. The Board commends the Department of Education and all educational stakeholders for collaborating on a strong blueprint to streamline operations, and provide teachers, school leaders and staff with the support and tools they need to prepare our graduates for college and careers."



Washington, DC — Congressman Charles K. Djou (HI-01) issued the following statement today in response to the news that the State of Hawaii has been selected as a finalist in the second round of President Obama’s “Race to the Top” education grant program:

“I am thrilled that Hawaii has been named a finalist for the “Race to the Top” federal grant program. I am glad that the hard work of Governor Lingle, Lieutenant Governor Aiona and the Hawaii Department of Education has not gone unnoticed. Ultimately, it is Hawaii’s families who will benefit from this hard work.

“I have consistently advocated for reforming our national education system in a way that puts children first. I support President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in their efforts to revitalize our failing school systems. Many of the reforms they are calling for are the same ideas that I have championed for years.

“We need more accountability from our principals and our teachers for the performance of our children. We need to empower and encourage parents to be more involved in their children’s education. We must ensure that our schools have the resources they need to adequately carry out their mission.

“I am glad to see that the State of Hawaii is still in contention for federal grants that will supply Hawaii with much-needed resources to reform our public schools and better serve our community.”

Background (Courtesy of the Department of Education)

Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia applied for the second round of Race to the Top. Including the 36 applications for the second round of Race to the Top, a total of 46 states and the District of Columbia applied for either the first or second rounds – or both.

The 19 finalists are: Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

Race to the Top is an historic federal investment in education reform, with $4.35 billion available to support states in their comprehensive reforms. The Department is reserving $350 million for a separate competition to support consortia of states that are creating the next generation of assessments that will support reform.

In the first round of competition supporting state-based reforms, Delaware and Tennessee won grants based on their comprehensive plans to reform their schools and the statewide support for those plans. Almost $3.4 billion remains to award grants to winners in the second round.

The finalists chosen today will travel to Washington during the week of Aug. 9 to present their plans to the peer reviewers who scored their applications. After the state's presentations and an extended question-and-answer period, the peer reviewers will finalize their scores and comments.

The Department intends to announce the winners of the competition in September.




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