Education reports
on testing, teachers
need careful review


Recent reviews of college test scores and teacher qualifications add to the abundance of information about schools and students.

There is no shortage of reports and scorecards to evaluate education and the effectiveness of schools in Hawaii and across the nation. Most of these point out deficiencies of which the public generally may be aware, but they tend to increase concern unless the information is evaluated rationally.

The American College Testing Program (ACT) this week reported that average exam scores of Hawaii students went up slightly from the previous year while the national average dipped. On first glance, the better scores could be construed as good news, and they are. However, to extrapolate from this that schools in Hawaii are doing a better job of educating children is not predicated on reason.

For one thing, slightly fewer Hawaii students took the test in the reporting year than in the previous period, 19 percent as compared to 20 percent. Meanwhile, the national average declined because two states now require all their students to take the test, no matter if college is where they are headed. ACT reports that of the 46,000 increase in test-takers, 30,000 had not intended to pursue higher education and had not taken courses that would have prepared them for the test.

The test is taken by private and public school students and because scores aren't broken down in those categories, they do not indicate whether public education -- the primary area of concern in Hawaii -- has made for student improvements.

A second report this week may point to a more significant problem. Education Trust says that a random survey by the U.S. Education Department found 33 percent of classes in Hawaii public middle schools are being taught by teachers who lack college majors or minors in the subjects they are teaching. That's not to say that all of these teachers aren't qualified, since many of them have gone back to take classes in the subjects they are now teaching or have gained expertise through experience.

Still, matching teachers to their areas of proficiency should be a given. What stands in the way of this, the report says, is the way that school systems are operated and how teaching assignments are made. With the federal education law requiring that parents be notified when their children are assigned a teacher whose course work is outside a subject area, Hawaii education officials are feeling the pressure to remedy the problem -- and they should.



Tamashiro created
an isle landmark

In a time when indistinguishable stores run by anonymous owners dominate the retail landscape, Tamashiro Market has endured.


There's no mistaking the Kalihi store. It's the pink building with the big red crab up top. Although it has been years since its movable claws have worked, the crab remains one of the few enduring Honolulu landmarks.

For almost 50 years, the no-frills seafood emporium has sold tons of fish to eager customers who make their picks of fresh catches from ice-packed plastic bins placed helter-skelter along crowded aisles. The market is known worldwide and is often listed in tourist publications as a sight-seeing stop.

Tamashiro's success is due to a simple marketing tactic: Sell what people want to buy. Its staying power is a tribute to Walter Tamashiro, who died last week at age 72. He made it the place to go for fish, any kind of fish.


Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, Editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
Assistant Editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, Assistant Editor 529-4762;

Mary Poole, Editorial Page Editor, 529-4790;
John Flanagan, Contributing Editor 294-3533;

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