Hawaii helps craft new road map for public education - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii helps craft new road map for public education

Daniel Hamada Daniel Hamada
Gene Wilhoit Gene Wilhoit
Norman Sakamoto Norman Sakamoto

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The public schools plan is called the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Educators call it a streamlined system that will take the guesswork out of teaching and learning English and math.

"If a child is in third grade you can rest assured that all the third graders across the nation and the teachers will be focused on the same skills," said Daniel Hamada, assistant superintendent with the Dept. of Education's Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support..

Under Common Core, first-graders across the US would be expected to read the book "A Boy, a Dog and a Frog," while high schoolers would study the same mathematical equations.

"In a country where students and families move on a regular basis. it does not make sense that where I reside determines expectations for my child," said Gene Wilhoit of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

"If we're all on one page, we're all using the same benchmarks, the same pacing guide, transferring among schools, new teachers coming in, you'd have a standard," Senate education committee chairman Norman Sakamoto said.

The purpose is to lay out a blueprint of concepts and skills students must learn year-by-year from kindergarten to grade twelve.

If students transfer to another school or another state, they pick up where they left off. The same for teachers.

Educators from Hawaii and across the nation took a year to devise the plan.

Hamada said the benefits extend beyond the classroom.

"If you look at the federal funds that we've been applying for like Race to the Top, school improvement grants, a lot of that has built into that the Common Core," Hamada said.

"We'd get a better bang for the dollar in terms of getting professional development help, getting text books at a lower cost," Sakamoto said.

Educators said the national standards will lead to better test scores and better prepare students for college and a career.

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