Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Brian De Lima, Esq., Committee Chairperson
Patricia Bergin
Margaret Cox
Kili Namau‘u
Bruce Voss, Esq.

Hubert Minn, Committee Vice Chairperson
Nolan Kawano

Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent
Cynthia Covell, Assistant Superintendent of Talent Management, Office of Human Resources
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Regina Pascua, Board Private Secretary
Irina Dana, Secretary

I. Call to Order

The Human Resources Committee (“Committee”) meeting was called to order by Committee Chairperson Brian De Lima at 10:00 a.m.

II. *Public testimony on Human Resources Committee (“Committee”) agenda items

Committee Chairperson De Lima called for public testimony. The following people provided oral testimony.

Agenda Item
Corey RosenleeHawaii State Teachers AssociationIV.A. Presentation on Teacher Education Coordinating Committee (“TECC”) annual reportSupport/Comment

Corey Rosenlee, Hawaii State Teachers Association (“HSTA”), testified on HSTA’s suggestions regarding teacher recruitment and retention. Rosenlee detailed data on in-state education program graduates, noted the nationwide decrease in the percent of incoming college freshmen likely to select education as their chosen field of study, and noted that national trends are driving these declines, including lack of funding.

Rosenlee detailed data on newly employed teachers hired without an education degree, issues with data on emergency hires, the affect of a lack of training and mentoring on the teacher retention rate. He highlighted that there is a crisis in regards to special education and detailed that the Hawaii Department of Education (“Department”) is placing nonqualified teachers in positions due to a shortage of teachers. However, these teachers are more likely to leave in the long-term.

Rosenlee commented that the Teacher Education Coordinating Committee’s (“TECC”) report includes the Troops to Teachers program and the hiring of teachers from other countries as solutions to the teacher shortage, but noted issues with both proposed solutions.

Rosenlee stated that the biggest issue in the teacher shortage is that an increased numbers of teachers are resigning voluntarily and leaving Hawaii to teach in other geographic areas.

Rosenlee summarized that fewer students are entering the profession, retiree numbers are remaining consistent, and teacher resignations are increasing. These collisions lead to vacancies and the hiring of teachers who have not gone through a state-approved teacher education program (“SATEP”). Rosenlee detailed that the total number of teachers without SATEP has increased and noted that the Department has filled over 1,000 positions with non-SATEP teachers.

Rosenlee highlighted that TECC’s report includes a number of suggestions that HSTA supports, including the need for a comprehensive salary study and long-term housing for teachers. He encouraged the Board of Education (“Board”) to support a constitutional amendment for new funding that will appear on the ballot in November. Rosenlee stated that no single factor would improve education. He stated that the Department needs to work on a variety of issues.

Rosenlee detailed that a number of factors drive low job satisfaction among teachers, including salary, lack of voice in school-wide decisions, not being treated as professionals, feeling micromanaged, being told to stick to a scripted curriculum, and lack of support. He stated that the biggest complaints that HSTA hears are that schools have top-down curriculums, teachers are told what to teach and feel as though they are teaching toward a test, and teachers feel a lack of support. He highlighted that the Department has the power to control these factors and noted that although funding is an issue, the Board could put policies into place that would empower teachers and could review larger issues occurring at schools.

Committee Member Margaret Cox asked if HSTA broke down its statistics to differentiate between general education and special education. Rosenlee noted that it did not. He detailed a past equity report and highlighted that at a previous Committee meeting, HSTA requested, and the Committee and Board approved, the Department to break down reports to include more data. He further highlighted that an equity report broke down statistics by complex area to show which areas have larger rates of unqualified hires and which hires are inexperienced by field. Rosenlee expressed concern that data does not exist to show how many out-of-field teachers are teaching in special education classrooms. He noted that the Strategic Plan Dynamic Report shows how many non-SATEP teachers are in each complex area but does not show how many teachers are inexperienced or teaching out-of-field.

Written testimony was also received and provided to Committee Members. The following is a listing of the people that submitted written testimony before the testimony deadline.

Agenda Item
Corey RosenleeHawaii State Teachers AssociationIV.A. Presentation on Teacher Education Coordinating Committee (“TECC”) annual reportSupport/Comment

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes of May 17, 2018

Note: The Committee took this agenda item after agenda item IV.A., Presentation on Teacher Education Coordinating Committee (“TECC”) annual report.

ACTION: Motion to approve the Human Resources Committee Meeting minutes of May 17, 2018 and the Human Resources Committee Meeting executive session minutes of May 17, 2018 (Cox/Voss). The motion carried unanimously with all members present voting aye.

IV. Discussion Items

Note: The Committee took this agenda item before agenda item III., Approval of Meeting Minutes of May 17, 2018.

Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent, highlighted TECC’s development of a collaborative five-year teacher recruitment and retention plan it indicated in the beginning of the year it would have by this point in the school year. Kishimoto further highlighted that TECC is co-chaired by her and Nathan Murata, Dean, College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa (“UH”). She noted that Cynthia Covell, Assistant Superintendent of Talent Management, Office of Human Resources, provides staffing and technical assistance for TECC. Kishimoto detailed discussions that took place in the beginning of the year regarding TECC prioritizing and focusing on teacher recruitment and retention. She stated that TECC developed a specific plan for how to address issues related to recruitment and retention. Kishimoto noted that several areas are in need of coordinated efforts and improvement in terms of student achievement outcomes and school design. However, the Department will not improve these areas unless there is a high-quality teacher in every classroom in every area of the state.

Kishimoto highlighted that TECC met nine times over the past year and created a joint agreement. She further highlighted that TECC worked on various areas, including alternative certification and traditional higher education preparation programs, with its partner organizations to create a living document. She noted that the idea of a living document is to incorporate input as TECC reviews where it sees the highest and lowest impacts. She detailed that TECC’s plan means to reflect collaboration, capture what it collectively worked on and agreed to, and share data around impact. Kishimoto emphasized the importance of TECC having a joint and collective voice between all of its organizations around requests to the Legislature as the biennium approaches. She highlighted that legislators joined TECC for one of its meeting, and TECC had an open discussion regard high levels of change. Kishimoto stated that TECC’s plan also means to reflect a multifaceted approach. She stated that immediate needs are important to TECC, including good teachers being present in every classroom. In order to address immediate needs, TECC had to be creative by reviewing different solutions, such as recruiting internationally. Kishimoto emphasized the importance of TECC having short-term fixes while focusing on long-term solutions, such as strengthening the “Grow Our Own” teachers program. Kishimoto summarized that TECC’s report is the result of a collective effort that focused on identifying areas that need further development, such as retention efforts. It reviewed various ideas, such as actions that have been successful nationally. TECC also identified areas of interest, including funding changes and policy approaches. Kishimoto highlighted that TECC developed a detailed and joint retention plan.

Murata agreed with and acknowledged Kishimoto’s sentiments. He highlighted that TECC has been around for some time and is a collaborative effort across agencies, institutions of higher education, and the private sector. TECC is able to harvest synergies to address major issues in teacher education, particularly recruitment and retention.

Committee Chairperson De Lima congratulated Murata on his appointment, detailed his background in special education, including his certification in special education and teaching in special education classrooms, and expressed appreciation for his participation.

Covell stated that TECC’s focus is teacher recruiting and retention. She noted that TECC includes collective efforts that will work together over the next five years to close the achievement gap. Covell detailed that statute created TECC, and TECC makes recommendations on matters of education of common interest to the Department and institutions of higher learning. Either the Superintendent of the Department or the Dean of the UH College of Education chairs meetings on a rotating basis each school year. Kishimoto chaired meetings during School Year (“SY”) 2017-2018, and Murata will chair meetings during SY 2018-2019. Covell highlighted that TECC has diverse membership, including representatives from each accredited Hawaii state-approved teacher education unit, including the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board, HSTA, and Hawaii P-20. She noted that members have a common interest in education.

Covell reviewed SY 2017-2018 highlights. She noted that during its nine meetings, TECC spent the majority of time developing its five-year plan. TECC also shared updates in regards to the Board and Department Joint Strategic Plan (“Strategic Plan”) and three high-leverage strategies, including school design, student voice, and teacher collaboration. TECC also had presentations on Computer Science Teachers Association Standards and Connect to Careers, including career and technical education program pathways for high school students to gain real world experiences. Covell highlighted that Murata shared enrollment counts for educator preparation programs. She noted that the data showed an increase in the amount of teacher separations and a downward trend of the amount of local graduates from local educator programs being hired. Furthermore, educator preparation program numbers are down from what it was in previous data. However, 2,000 students are in the teacher pipeline anywhere from master’s degree programs to bachelor’s degree programs, and the teacher pipeline is strong. Covell stated that TECC’s plan includes activities and strategies to address the teacher pipeline, including what happens before students enter the pipeline, what happens during the pipeline, and what happens after students leave the pipeline. TECC is also reviewing marketing in relation to the teacher pipeline. Covell noted that interest in being a teacher is decreasing nationwide, which is where marketing comes in.

Covell reviewed highlights from joint activities. She highlighted that TECC’s “It’s Great to be a Teacher” event was held in April 2018 at Leeward Community College. The event included a panel session and had over 300 attendees, including individuals who could be teachers and individuals who are teachers. Covell highlighted that this was the third year TECC held its “It’s Great to be a Teacher” event to celebrate teachers. TECC is reviewing holding the event in Hilo in the fall and in Maui in the spring. Covell noted that many substitute teachers who are interested in becoming full-time teachers attended. Covell detailed the “Be a Hero, Be a Teacher” campaign and noted that the campaign celebrates the teaching profession and is receiving radio and television spots. Covell stated that legislators attended TECC meetings in March 2018 to share ideas about direction and potential funding. She added that it was helpful for TECC members to speak with legislators regarding education priorities and highlighted that members and legislators had fruitful discussions.

Covell highlighted that TECC created a five-year teacher pipeline plan that addresses special education and teacher retention. The five-year TECC plan includes high-level strategies and centers on six objectives. The first objective is to build capacity locally. TECC is reviewing targeting middle schools, high schools, and nontraditional students, in addition to high school academies. Covell shared how Kapaa High School’s principal brought high school students to a local elementary school in order to provide high school students with teaching opportunities and expose them to teaching. She highlighted that TECC is reviewing how it could increase students’ interest in teaching in special education classrooms. The second objective is to increase the satisfaction of in-service teachers. Covell detailed activities to increase teacher satisfaction and noted that activities include the opportunity to address what teachers are looking for and what may be missing. Covell stated that the third objective of TECC’s five-year plan is to provide meaningful incentives for recruitment and retention, including compensation. She highlighted that TECC agrees with HSTA that TECC needs to engage in a compensation study. She further highlighted that the Department offers a quality benefits program for teachers, and it needs to advertise it more. The fourth objective is to market the teaching profession effectively. Covell stated that the Department wants to be the employer of choice, wants recognition for Hawaii as a place where teachers want to be, and to compete nationally for teaching positions. The fifth objective is to meet local needs with other approaches. Covell noted that the TECC would like to continue UH’s “Grow Our Own” stipend program and plans to ask the Legislature to continue funding the program. Covell detailed a pilot program that will be starting with Leeward Community College that would allow educational assistants to become special education teachers. Covell stated that the Department is working with TECC and other partners to make this pilot a reality. The first cohort is set to begin this fall and has over 50 educational assistants from Nanakuli who are interested in the pilot. Covell stated that the last objective is to improve the special education teaching experience. She highlighted that TECC received a briefing from the Superintendent’s special education taskforce and received recommendations.

Murata stated that Senator Michelle Kidani has supported UH’s “Grow Our Own” program and has helped to fill gaps. In addition to this program, TECC is reviewing establishing teacher academies at high schools. He noted that data shows how many students involved in teacher academies go on to education programs at UH. He added that TECC is also reviewing connecting with middle schools to get students excited about the teaching profession. Murata detailed that TECC is trying to help charter schools, immersion schools, and independent schools. He noted that TECC is reviewing various programs to address all needs.

Kishimoto highlighted that TECC produces its report on an annual basis and provides its report and materials to the Legislature. She noted that Board Members and legislators could cite TECC’s report and highlighted that it creates a connection between all leaders. Kishimoto highlighted initiatives to grow teaching academies and expose students to opportunities and noted that when young people learn or receive the opportunity to teach someone else what they have learned, they go through the practice of teaching. Even if it does not lead them to the teaching profession, it makes them better learners. She highlighted that the initiatives included in TECC’s five-year plan have secondary outcomes, and TECC could review impacts.

Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that the Board believes, embraces, and values the reality that teachers are on the frontline and doing the work in classrooms. Committee Chairperson De Lima noted that the Strategic Plan highlights that there is a need for the most vulnerable students to have the best teachers. However, teacher contracts are sometimes an impediment and do not allow principals to assign the best teachers to the most vulnerable classrooms. Unfortunately, when the Department has to fill positions with emergency hires, the most vulnerable students sometimes end up with teachers who are non-SATEP teachers. Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that he would to know how to address this concern.

Rosenlee stated that one of the most difficult issues is how to provide hard-to-staff schools with teachers. If framed correctly, the Department could assign teachers from the Honolulu District to teach in the Leeward District. Committee Chairperson De Lima asked if a principal could assign one of the better teachers at a school to a special education classroom and then hire a non-licensed teacher to teach a different subject in the event that a school has special education classrooms but does not have special education certified teachers. Rosenlee stated that this solution could burn out two teachers. He noted that while Hawaii has a teacher shortage, the highest amount of vacancies is in elementary education. He stated that there is a shortage in every position across the state and not just in one area. Special education just has a higher percentage of shortages. Rosenlee commented that there are shortages in Hawaiian immersion classrooms, career technical education programs, secondary schools, science, math, English language arts, and special education. He noted that although the Department needs to address shortages in special education, sometimes it robs one area to fill another. He stated that the Department needs to fill all shortage areas. Rosenlee commented that the Department has enough special education teachers in its system to fill special education classrooms, but these teachers will not return to special education classrooms due to a heavy workload and lack of support in the system. By moving teachers to fill positions, the Department would have gaps in other positions.

Committee Chairperson De Lima asked if HSTA would support an increase in pay for special education teachers. Rosenlee stated that HSTA would support provisions in teacher contracts that would include incentive bonuses for teachers to teach in hard-to-staff areas. He stated that the current incentive bonus is $3,000, and teachers have commented that this is not enough of an incentive because it does not even cover gas money. Rosenlee stated that because there are teacher shortages across the board, the concern is that if the Department paid special education teachers more in order to fill shortages, other areas would see shortages, and the issue of compensation would come up again. Rosenlee reiterated that every area in education has a shortage. He commented that he never thought he would see the day where the Department places emergency hires in elementary schools and social studies classrooms. He stated that the Department needs to address all shortages.

Committee Member Bruce Voss detailed long-term housing for teachers and stated that long-term housing could keep young teachers in Hawaii. He asked what Rosenlee’s proposal is in regards to rentals, subsidies, or complexes dedicated to teachers that the Board could support at the Legislature. Rosenlee stated that Molokai has teacher housing, but teachers do not want to live there because the units are unlivable. He noted that other areas have similar problems. Rosenlee stated that in certain areas, teacher housing is full, and teachers are unable to rent other places. Rosenlee noted that housing might be attractive for young teachers, but eventually teachers may want to move due to life milestones. Rosenlee stated that he supports reviewing additional teacher housing, but the long-term solution relates to increases in salary so that teachers have the freedom to choose where and how they want to live. He noted that experienced teachers would eventually have to leave teacher housing and have no additional incentive to stay.

Committee Member Voss detailed Act 155 and stated that the Finance and Infrastructure Committee discussed the Department using land for dedicated teacher housing. He asked if the Department supports this idea.

Covell stated that one TECC’s strategies in its five-year plan is to incentivize new teachers using a multifaceted approach. She noted that the Legislature did not pass a legislative bill related to the Department managing subsidies. Covell commented that she visited teacher housing units on Molokai recently. She noted that TECC needs to use a mixed approach where it reviews subsidizing particular areas that make sense from a long-term financial perspective. She noted that one complaint she hears is that teachers have to pay too much money upfront when moving to Hawaii and stated that TECC is reviewing this concern. Covell detailed other teacher housing units she visited and detailed maintenance fee deferrals.

Rosenlee detailed a previous legislative bill that would have allowed for rent subsidies in hard-to-staff areas. He stated that the Legislature did not pass this bill because it was concerned about collective bargaining issues rather than funding issues. Rosenlee highlighted that the Department could pursue rent subsidies next year.

Committee Member Cox commented that when she was in high school, her school used students alongside teachers or educational aides as substitutes at middle schools. Committee Member Cox stated that when she first moved to Hawaii, the Department situated her in a hospital that it used as a dorm for teachers. She noted that the Department does not necessarily need to provide teachers with traditional housing. Committee Member Cox shared her experience with teacher housing on Kauai. She stated that she intended to stay in Hawaii for two years originally but is still here decades later. She emphasized the importance of the Department implementing initiatives that make a difference in order to incentivize teachers to stay in Hawaii. She stated that the Department has dual certified teachers who taught in special education classrooms for three years before leaving. Committee Member Cox noted that the Department needs to review and address what it would take to entice teachers to return to and continue teaching in special education classrooms. She stated that although there are shortages across various areas, the Department has teachers who are qualified to work in special education classrooms, but they have opted to work in other classrooms or have left the teaching profession.

Rosenlee stated that HSTA and the Superintendent’s special education taskforce reviewed how the Department could incentivize teachers to return to special education classrooms. He noted that significant financial incentives for returning teachers could be problematic because teachers who never left special education programs would not receive the same incentives as their colleagues who are returning.

Committee Member Cox stated that instead of reviewing salaries, the Department could review how it could change working conditions by providing teachers with extra days, paying teachers for extra hours of work, or dividing work between general education teachers and special education teachers and compensating teachers for extra work. She asked if HSTA or the special education taskforce discussed any of these ideas.

Rosenlee stated that the special education taskforce recommended that the Department pay teachers for extra work. He noted that individualized education programs (“IEP”) take up a lot of time, and the Department could either give teachers time off during the day to complete IEPs or pay teachers for extra work in completing IEPs. He highlighted that some schools have begun implementing similar incentives and initiatives. Rosenlee stated that if the Department incentivizes both teachers in inclusion classrooms by paying and rewarding teachers for extra work, it removes concerns regarding jealousy. Rosenlee expressed concern that half of the teachers in Hawaii have a second job in addition to teaching. He noted that if teachers made enough from their teaching jobs and did not have to take on a second job, it would reduce the burnout that teachers experience. Rosenlee expressed support for the Department incentivizing teachers for additional work. He noted other ideas, including recruiting new students interested in special education or bringing back retirees. He stated that the Superintendent’s special education taskforce recommended allowing individuals to double dip because it would not be as expensive but would provide the Department with individuals who could write IEPs.

Committee Member Cox expressed concern over the idea of the Department providing teachers with time off during the day because teachers do not get enough time during the school day to complete work as it is, and schools do not need more substitutes. Committee Member Cox expressed support for high schools establishing teacher academies and stated that this idea could make a difference. She noted that everything costs money, and the Board and Department need to determine how to implement ideas with current funding.

Kishimoto noted that these conversations are not only happening in Hawaii and that there are shortages throughout the nation. She stated that a one-size-fits-all approach is not the correct approach for the Department to take, and the Department needs to try something different than it has tried in the past. Kishimoto stated that the Board and Department need to engage in a conversation regarding how the rest of the marketplace pays differential pay when a salary of a one-size-fits-all approach affects the core quality and output. Kishimoto stated that the Department is unable to address all shortage areas at once, so it has to start somewhere. She stated that the question is what are the Board and Department willing to do differently that is not similar to what it has done before that had some impact but not significant impact. She noted that special education classrooms with the most vulnerable students are not an area where any adult with some training could go into and detailed that special education is a significant area. Kishimoto stated that the Board and Department have to determine how it could take a different approach, set a time limit, and review where that approach made a difference. She noted that the Board and Department are attempting to implement different ideas but are still pushing ideas on a larger scale that it had already tried in the past. Kishimoto expressed concern over the Department currently being unable to place all of the teachers it needs in classrooms.

Committee Chairperson De Lima emphasized the importance of the Board, Department, and other organizations implementing a collaborative approach. He highlighted that he invited Rosenlee to join the discussion because his leadership is important in order to find a way to address issues in a way that makes a difference. He stated that the Department is making positive progress, but needs to continue its discussions. Committee Chairperson De Lima stated that the Department needs to collect data regarding why teachers are leaving so that it could understand how to address this problem. He noted that the Department is collecting some data and conducting interviews and needs to be mindful of where its vacancies are. Committee Chairperson De Lima agreed with Kishimoto and noted that the Department needs to find ways to have qualified teachers in classrooms with the most vulnerable students. He stated that the Board and Department need to continue to engage in discussions as they monitor progress. He stated that Rosenlee and Kishimoto would continue their discussions and highlighted that everyone is willing to give and take in order to help the most vulnerable students.

V. Adjournment

Committee Chairperson De Lima adjourned the meeting at 11:00 a.m.