HAWAII KAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kaiser High School is big into college prep classes. But in the realm of No Child Left Behind, it's still considered to be an under-performing school.
Kaiser falls into the 62 percent of Hawaii's 286 public schools swimming upstream. They're failing at the national proficiency benchmarks used to measure performance. Kaiser aced reading but faltered in math.
"it's very discouraging because I don't think it's an accurate reflection of what we do here at our school," teacher Janelle Ling said.
If the state gets a waiver to the No Child law, principal John Sosa and other educators could apply additional metrics to measure success.
"A benchmark for us might be the percentages of kids that are accepted at four-year schools as compared to two-year schools," he said.
The Department of Education will gather input from schools, education advocates and community members before applying for the waiver next February.
State Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi insists a waiver isn't a free pass, but will demand more accountability from teachers, principals and students.
"Kids can't celebrate and say no more tests. There will still be a state assessment," she said.
Gone will be the one-size-fits-all mandate that measures just math and reading. Other criteria could include enrollment in fine arts courses, participation in essay contests, robotics competitions and science fairs.
"All of those things show where kids are going beyond their regular classroom. and they can be measured in a school. It should be encouraged," Sosa said.
It should be a more accurate method to determine how well a school is doing beyond just pass or fail.