Well, I guess we've got to start somewhere. For the second year in a row, Hawaii eighth graders scored higher than just one state, Mississippi, in the national science test. Yes, our incremental gains over last year's results show progress, just as the tiny increases in test score results show in math and reading, but the bar has been so low here for so long, it's hard to imagine scores dropping further.
There are all kinds of factors affecting the Hawaii's scores, but getting the students more involved, more interested and more engaged is certainly a priority of the DOE moving forward. And that absolutely starts at home with the parents. But you have to ask: when it comes to the now-annual disappointing test results, are the local education leaders looking for best practices from other markets? Are the people in charge really prepared to make major changes or overhaul a system which systemically seems like it just lumbers along year after year?
Are there examples of other states or individual markets with English as a second language-issues or high levels of poverty or a relatively disinterested parent base that have found inducements to make their schools better? Yes, we can inch along and see gains from a rather weak base level, or we can look outside for real success stories that might help our cause. Maybe we are doing that right now, or maybe we're just satisfied with educational mediocrity as a goal in far too many areas so long as no boats get rocked. Somewhere between inching along and crazy, radical ideas there must be some options to entertain and possible implement. Think about it….