LeMahieu promotes writing education
What ever happened to former schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu, who spearheaded the implementation of Hawaii's standards-based education system in the late 1990s?
Answer: For nearly four years LeMahieu has been research and evaluation director for the National Writing Project, a Berkeley, Calif.-based nonprofit that promotes K-16 training programs in the effective teaching of writing.
LeMahieu researches the 32-year-old project's effectiveness at its 195 sites around the country, requiring frequent travel.
He also researches what kinds of education policies support good writing and teacher development, and studies how children write and how they learn about writing, research that feeds back into the project's programs.
The project has a Hawaii site at Kapiolani Community College that is for "teachers who are interested in writing, the teaching of writing and the use of writing in their teaching," LeMahieu said by phone from Berkeley.
Demand for the project has tripled recently amid a new focus on writing -- standardized tests for college-bound students now include essays, and the federal government will soon require states to test students on writing ability.
LeMahieu was Hawaii's superintendent from 1998 to 2001. Though well regarded by many, he resigned amid questions over his relationship with a woman whose company landed a Department of Education contract.
LeMahieu, who was reared in Kaaawa, retains strong Hawaii ties. His mother lives in Honolulu, and he returns frequently to teach University of Hawaii graduate education students.
He hopes to return for good someday and contribute more to education in Hawaii, saying, "My heart is still there."
"I guess Hawaii needs to figure out whether it wants or needs me," he said.
This update was written by Dan Martin.
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