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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2006

Education plan on hold for now

Advertiser Staff


In the Senate: SB 2497

In the House: HB 2588

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The state Senate Education and Military Affairs committee deferred action this week on a proposal to develop a core curriculum program originally proposed by the Hawai'i Automobile Dealers' Association.

The proposal calls for the state to invest $1 million in the development of a research-based language arts program called Core Knowledge designed by E.D. Hirsch Jr., a University of Virginia professor emeritus. An additional $5 million in funding from the federal government also would be necessary.

A hearing on the equivalent House bill hasn't been scheduled.

The measure was deferred because senators were concerned about telling the state Department of Education that a specific curriculum should be used, said state Sen. Norman Sakamoto, D-15th (Waimalu, Moanalua, Salt Lake), chairman of the education and military affairs committee.

However, there is still a possibility the Core Knowledge program will be added to another education-related bill to give the DOE choices of which curriculum programs they would like to spend money on, Sakamoto said yesterday.

Proponents of Core Knowledge believe this program would be the most successful.

"HADA believes that development and implementation of this rigorous language arts/core content curriculum in Hawai'i could propel our students' fourth-grade reading performance skills from our current position in the stat standings to near top in the state-by-state national rankings, in just 72 months," said David Rolf, executive director of the association, in written testimony.

The DOE has not taken an official position on the measure, department spokesman Greg Knudsen said.

In the past, the department has objected to the Core Knowledge proposal if it would involve mandatory implementation at every school statewide, Knudsen said.

Schools are normally given leeway, or "local control," of their curriculum, even under the Hawai'i Content and Performance Standards, Knudsen said.