Friday, June 8, 2001

Cayetano erred
in ads on pay,
paper says

Education Week rated Hawaii
teacher pay last, not 18th, in 1999

Bonuses in limbo

By Pat Omandam

Education Week, a national weekly newspaper on public education, says Gov. Ben Cayetano erred when he stated in paid advertisements last March the publication ranked Hawaii having the 18th highest-paid teachers in the nation.

In fact, Education Week ranked Hawaii at the bottom of the list.

"It was a honest mistake," responded Cayetano spokes-woman Kim Murakawa, who said the 18th ranking is still accurate but should have been attributed to another source.

Virginia B. Edwards, Education Week editor, told Cayetano in a June 1 letter the full-page ads bought by the state administration for the March 14 editions of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser -- the same day members of the Hawaii State Teachers Association took a strike authorization vote that led to a 19-day strike in April -- incorrectly attributed Education Week as having rated Hawaii teachers pay as 18th in the nation.

Edwards said her publication released a report called Quality Counts last Jan. 11 that included information on teachers' salaries, but that data was taken from a 1999 survey by the American Federation of Teachers.

After accounting for regional cost-of-living differences and state average salaries, Education Week actually ranked Hawaii last in 1999 with the lowest state average teacher salary, $28,152.

"Nowhere in the Quality Counts report you cited in your ad is it suggested that 'Of the 50 states, Hawaii teachers are the 18th highest paid in the nation,'" Edwards wrote the governor.

Cayetano is on a business trip to Japan and will return to work Tuesday. Murakawa said despite the clerical mistake, Hawaii's 18th ranking is accurate.

It is based on a 1998-1999 National Education Association survey of average salaries of public school teachers, which were the most current rankings the state had to work with at the time the ads were done, she said.

The survey showed Hawaii at 18th with an average teacher salary of $40,377.

Greg F. Orlofsky, research associate at Education Week, said yesterday it is common for the publication to write politicians to correct misstatements, but this was an unusual case because it was an advertisement, not an article.

"So, we basically want to bring it to his attention," Orlofsky said.

"We weren't looking for any kind of retraction or anything. We just want to make it clear that it was not Education Week that made that ranking," he said.

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