Study gives isles a ‘C’ in quality of schooling
Hawaii's public school system got a passing grade of "C" for quality in a national study released today.
The state fared relatively well in the areas of teaching, testing and early education, according to Education Week's "Quality Counts" report, which graded states and the District of Columbia on six areas of performance and policy.
Hawaii's worst mark, a "D," came in student achievement, in large part because reading and math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders fell below the national average in a national exam last year, according to the study.
Just 20 percent of Hawaii's eighth-graders who took the National Assessment of Education Progress test were proficient in reading, and 21 were proficient in math. Fourth-graders did better, with 26 percent meeting proficiency in reading and 33 percent in math.
Overall, Hawaii placed in the bottom half -- 32nd place with a grade of 74.8 -- in the Education Week survey, ahead of North Dakota and below Rhode Island. New York led the ranking with a "B," or 84.9 points, followed by Massachusetts and Maryland.
But Greg Knudsen, spokesman for the state Education Department, challenged the study.
He said Hawaii's funding of schools is not included in the report because its education system lacks districts, saying the state's grade would have improved if finances were considered.
The study says Hawaii spends about $9,022 per student, slightly higher than the $8,973 national average.
In addition, the report lists Hawaii's graduation rate at 64 percent, but state education officials have said 79 percent of its students graduate on time.
"I think they have a little explaining to do," Knudsen said.
Messages left with Education Week yesterday were not immediately returned.
One bright spot in Hawaii's report card was its runner-up placing -- behind only North Dakota -- for having the lowest reading-score gap between fourth-graders who qualify for lunch subsidies and those who don't.
The state also ranked seventh in preschool enrollment, and was among five states that require educators to notify parents about employees teaching outside their field.
How states and the District of Columbia scored in educational quality in a national report.
|1. New York
|Source: Education Week