Gov. Green enacts laws aimed at enhancing education
Governor Josh Green, M.D., signed several education- and early-education-related bills into law on Monday that he said will have positive and far-reaching impacts for Hawai‘i keiki, educators and school facilities in the years to come.
“These new laws will provide additional support to advance the efforts of many throughout our public school system, to educate students,” said Gov. Green. “Nearly 169,000 students were enrolled in public and charter schools during the 2022 to 2023 school year. A number like that highlights the need for sound policies and support systems, sufficient funding, and resources for employees to ensure quality teaching and learning. Clearly, our students of today, are our leaders, our workforce and our parents of tomorrow, and it is our kuleana to set them up for success.”
Gov. Green signed four bills at the ceremony, adding to seven education bills detailed below.
“We need 1,200 teachers to fill our annual teacher shortage,” Gov. Green said. “Construction of teacher housing is seen as a key step in the future of education of Hawaiʻi’s keiki. Affordable housing will aid in recruitment and retention of teachers, and that will help to address the shortage. SB941 (Act 172) authorizes the School Facilities Authority to partner with public and private agencies to develop housing on- or off-campus for teachers, other educators and staff, and to develop classrooms.”
Governor Green thanked Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke for leading the charge for the youngest of our learners. He said the Lieutenant Governor has taken a progressive approach to providing a strong foundation for early education efforts.
“All the momentum building to prioritize statewide preschool expansion, builds on decades of hard work from the early learning and childcare community in Hawaiʻi. The acts Gov. Green signed today will not only focus on our youngest learners but provide economic stability to local families and support the state’s early education workforce,” said Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke. “It will take continuous collaboration to achieve universal access to preschool, so thank you to the Ready Keiki partners, the legislature, and Governor Green for supporting this effort,” she said.
HB960 (Act 175) places prekindergarten facilities within the authority of the DOE School Facilities Authority and transfers $200 million in general funds to the School Facilities Special fund for FY 2023-24. The funds will expand access to Pre-K to eligible children.
Gov. Green also thanked Senate and House Education Committee Chairs, Senator Michelle Kidani and Representative Justin Woodson, for their leadership and commitment toward education for our keiki throughout the years, and to all the members of the legislature who strive to give our keiki the best possible future.
“We celebrate these bills as significant strides towards a brighter future for our students and educators,” said Senator Michelle Kidani, (Senate District 18, Mililani Town, Waipi‘o Gentry, Crestview, Waikele, portion of Waipahu, Village Park, Royal Kunia), Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “By investing in teacher housing, improving school facilities, and expanding early childhood education, we are paving the way for the success of our state and its future generations.”
“Education is about assuring that all of our keiki are lifted up, and these bills highlight how we can build a stronger world-class education system in Hawaiʻi,” said House Committee on Education Chair, Representative Justin Woodson (District 9, Kahului, Pu‘unēnē, portion of Wailuku).
HB503 (Act 174) acknowledges the importance of computer science in an increasingly technology-driven world, by requiring the Board of Education to determine whether making computer science a graduation requirement would be in the best interests of public school students and the public; and if so, to work with the Department of Education to analyze a timeline and process for making computer science a graduation requirement by no later than the 2030-2031 school year.
“From artificial intelligence to advances in healthcare, renewable energy, and agriculture, the current and future impact of technology cannot be overstated,” said David Sun-Miyashiro, executive director of HawaiiKidsCAN. “That is why computer science is a foundational area of education in 2023 and beyond. HB503 is critical in that it increases equity and access to computer science courses for all of Hawai‘i’s students, so that the STEM fields will finally reflect the diversity of our state. Our youth will not only understand these core concepts, but they’ll also have the choice to shape the innovations of the future and have jobs that enable them to afford to stay in Hawai‘i.”
SB1344 (Act 173) amends to ‘school health assistants,’ the former term ‘school health aides,’ to better reflect changes to the job title. The new law allows administration of medication to public school students by school health assistants, with the approval of a health care professional within the Department of Education, Department of Health, or a health care service pursuant to a written agreement with the Department of Education.
Additional education- and early education-related bills signed by Governor Green include:
SB7 HD1 CD1, (Act 165) Relating to the School Facilities Authority
SB105 HD1 CD1, (Act 166) Relating to Education
Special education autism IEPs
Changes the Department of Education’s quarterly report requirement on autism spectrum disorder to an annual report. (CD1)
SB1340 SD2 HD2 CD1, (Act 167) Relating to the Practice of Behavior Analysts
Reinstates the exemption from the behavior analyst licensing requirements for certain teachers working in collaboration with a licensed behavior analyst or licensed psychologist. Expands the exemption for registered behavior technicians to implement applied behavior analysis services under the direction of a licensed psychologist. Reinstates the exemption from the behavior analyst licensing requirements for individuals who implement applied behavior analysis services to participants in the Medicaid home and community-based services waiver program. Requires the Department of Education to report to the Legislature on the implementation of Medicaid reimbursements for applied behavior analysis services. (CD1)
HB1045 HD1 SD1 CD1, (Act 165) Relating to Education
Transfer students, emancipated minors, homeless students
Requires a minor student’s parent or legal guardian, rather than the student, to produce the required student records when transferring schools. Clarifies that emancipated minors may produce the required student records when transferring schools. Clarifies that the transfer process is the same whether a transfer is within the same complex area or to another complex area. Exempts students eligible for assistance provided under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 from producing required student records when transferring schools. Effective 1/1/2024. (CD1)
Early Education Bills
SB239 SD2 HD3 CD1, (Act 169) Relating to Early Learning Accreditation
Requires the Department of Human Services to establish a Child Care Accreditation Program to assist licensed and registered child care providers obtain accreditation. Authorizes the use of the Child Care Grant Program Special Fund for Child Care Accreditation Program grants. Extends the deadlines by which existing Preschool Open Doors Program service providers are required to commence the accreditation process and obtain accreditation. Appropriates funds for the Child Care Accreditation Program, including the establishment of one full-time equivalent (1.0 FTE) position for the program. (CD1)
SB1022 HD1 CD1, (Act 170) Relating to the Early Learning Board
Amends the composition and qualifications of the Early Learning Board to consist of individuals from each county, instead of from particular entities or types of providers. Establishes general qualifications for the members of the Early Learning Board appointed by the Governor. (CD1)
HB961 HD1 SD2 CD1, (Act 171) Relating to Early Learning
Expand Preschool Open Doors to 3-year-olds
Expands the types of entities from which a Preschool Open Doors service provider may obtain accreditation. Beginning 1/1/2024, expands the Preschool Open Doors Program application process to eligible 3year-old children. (CD1)