Hawaii public school principals grade DOE - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii public school principals grade DOE

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the second straight year Hawaii's public school principals complain that the state Department of Education exercises too much control over their schools and offers too little flexibility.

"The real work of school goes on at the school level," retired principal Roberta Mayor said.

Mayor and others with the Education Institute of Hawaii conducted an on-line survey of principals, asking them to anonymously rate their experience with the DOE.

"The department has been very prescriptive in saying that this is what every child is going to learn and this is how it's going to be taught," Mayor said.

The survey results show 80 percent of principals believe the DOE over-emphasizes test scores, and the department's teacher evaluation system adversely affects school morale.

Former principal Darrel Galera compares the DOE to a company suffering from tunnel vision.

"The company was not working on being innovative or of producing things, and they were only focused on evaluation, that company would fall apart," he said.

"Making systemic progress for our students and educators have come with a lot of growing pains, however, we see that children are learning and achieving more and at a higher level of learning," DOE communications director Donalyn Dela Cruz said.

"What the survey results say is we really need to have a real reform of the education system in Hawaii," Galera said.

"The central office really needs to start to think about how they can better support the work of the school level folks," Mayor said.

Dela Cruz said the DOE's focus is to "learn from these growing pains, overcome them and continue to do what's right for our students' future."

The Education Institute promised principals their names would be left off the survey results. Galera said only about half of the state's 256 public school principals felt comfortable enough to respond.

"Principals are very aware that if they are not producing as they are compelled to do there may be some consequences," Mayor said.

To see the full 2015 Principals Survey results, click HERE

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