Report details teachers' unpaid work
A public school teacher in Hawaii would need to spend an average 1,780 hours outside of the classroom each year to write lessons, monitor student progress and other tasks required by federal and state mandates, contends a joint report by the teachers' union and the state Department of Education.
The report, released yesterday during a Board of Education meeting, says a teacher would need to be paid on average $63,000 more if compensated for the extra work.
The data came from a survey of 13,630 Hawaii State Teachers Association members, said Joan Lee Husted, the association's executive director. The union is negotiating a new contract and hope to have a deal by mid-April.
"Our plates are really overflowing," said Karen Shindo, an HSTA member representing Waiakea Elementary School on the Big Island. "And there's been a clear impact on student achievement."
For example, teachers spend about 10 hours just to put data in a detailed, standards-based report card due each quarter, with more time needed to actually grade the work and explain to parents in writing how their child is doing, said Edwin Kagawa of the Big Island's Keaau Middle School.
"We would have to work ... 254 additional, 7-hour workdays," said Kagawa. "This is above and beyond the regular standard school year."
Some teachers have chosen to not show up for a whole school day -- asking for a substitute to fill in -- so they can stay home grading assignments, said Patricia Oshiro, a teacher at Farrington High.
"You are taking a teacher away from the classroom to correct tests," she said, later adding: "It is a myth that teachers have adequate time to complete the tasks necessary to ensure student achievement."
The report was compiled by a committee of HSTA members and the DOE. The group was created in 2005 in response to growing concerns from teachers who felt overwhelmed and frustrated with new requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act and standards-based education.
Five school representatives from the Hawaii State Teachers Association and others with the state DOE met six times in the 2005-06 school year to conduct surveys and hold hearings with teachers.
Yesterday, they released a report showing how long a teacher takes on average to perform required tasks. Among them were 30 minutes a day to write progress reports, one hour a week in academic coaching, and two hours each month to write progress reports and constructed responses for grading on Hawaii State Assessments.
As a result, committee members said, the education of "the whole child is jeopardized" as teachers are left with little or no time to tutor, organize science fairs and field trips, participate in career day or schedule advising sessions.
School board members asked the committee to come up with possible solutions to save teachers' time. Member Karen Knudsen suggested looking at professional development sessions -- which also keep teachers away from classrooms -- to check if they are helping students learn.
"Where is the payoff? When are we finally going to see payoff from devoting time and resources to professional development?" she said.