By Mike Egami, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsFebruary 15, 2011
HONOLULU - A survey asking military families about their perception of public education in several states, including Hawaii, was discussed at a town hall meeting, here, Feb. 3.
The survey, conducted last year by Department of Defense Education Activity, will determine if the Hawaii Department of Education provides appropriate educational programs for military family members residing on military installations in Hawaii, California, Alaska and Washington.
Survey questions asked military parents about their perceptions on the quality of Hawaii schools and the quality, sustainability and modernization of random facilities. The survey results will be released in about 30 days, according to Marilee Fitzgerald, acting director, DoDEA.
"We will return to the islands to unveil the results to the (Department of Education) and every family member living here," Fitzgerald said.
"Race to the Top," a DoE competition that awarded the Hawaii public education system $75 million in August 2010, was also discussed. These funds will be used for comprehensive education reform that focuses on improving teacher performance, preparing high school seniors for college and the workplace, and turning around low-performing schools.
"The grant will give Hawaii the opportunity to be the best," Fitzgerald said.
Hawaii is one of nine states, plus the District of Columbia, to win a share of $3.4 billion in grants.
During the discussion, a military family member who had attended DoD schools in his youth asked if the DoD would build a school in Hawaii.
"Unfortunately, a DoD school is not in the future for Hawaii," Fitzgerald said. "DoDEA is looking to introduce a virtual high school by the fall with accredited courses supported by the Department of Commerce (and) a pilot foreign language program for (pre-kindergarten) students, and expanding partnerships with specific schools like Solomon and Wheeler Elementary schools (on Schofield Barracks)," Fitzgerald said.
DoDEA might open an office in Hawaii, Fitzgerald added.
"We want to amp up the game and support parents and the DoE's Race To The Top," she said.