DOE on board with Ige's public Pre-K plan
During Tuesday's State of the State address, Governor Ige proposed restructuring Hawaii's public schools, including implementing access to public per-kindergarten.
Its no secret that many preschools in Hawaii come with a bulging price tag. A tough pill to swallow when you live in a state where the cost of living is among the nation's highest.
But a solution to steep tuition prices ailing parents across Hawai'i could be in the works. During Tuesday's State of the State address, Governor David Ige proposed restructuring Hawaii's public schools, including implementing access to public per-kindergarten and moving 6th graders at elementary's to middle schools.
"We're ready, the DOE...we have been ready. We've been asking for this for the past two years under my leadership. We've been really pushing for having much more of a pre-K through 12 perspective on education in our public school system," Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said.
The department says 27 campuses can accommodate at least 1 PreK classroom right now. Thats enough to hold around 18 to 22 students per class.
If funding's approved this legislative session, schools like Pauoa Elementary are ready to go.
The department says proposed funding for schools with space will go toward retrofitting the class and installing additional fencing. The goal by 2027, is to have more than 300 PreK classrooms available.
But early education advocates say before public PreK is launched, the department needs to ensure educators are certified.
"Pre-K is a specialized area to a specialized field where we need to have teachers who understand early childhood development. They may be asking them to do things that are above their ability levels and that results in frustration for young children where they can act out in ways where teachers will feel is inappropriate," said Lauren Moriguchi of Executive On Early Learning.
As for transitioning 6th graders to middle school its something Superintendent Kishimoto says is already in place at most public schools on O'ahu.
She plans to meet with principals on the neighbor islands to talk about reorganizing.