With the fate of Hawaii’s $75 million Race to the Top grant hanging in the balance, this is not good news for the Aloha State.
Though there are a couple weeks left in Hawaii’s legislative session, it appears that an important bill to keep the state in the good graces of the U.S. Department of Education has met an early demise. Legislation to create teacher performance evaluations—something the state promised to do in its Race to the Top application—has died.
This is not good timing because within the next few weeks, the federal department is expected to update the state and the public about Hawaii’s high-risk status. A team from the department visited Hawaii late last month, in part, to re-evaluate whether the state should keep its Race to the Top grant. Team members were in search of “clear and compelling” evidence that the state is making progress on its Race to the Top promises.
As you can see from the list of Race to the Top changes that have been approved by the feds, all winning states have struggled with implementation. But Hawaii is in the biggest trouble. Without legislation or some significant progress on a new teachers’ contract—which would provide examples of “clear and compelling evidence"—the feds might have good reason to revoke Hawaii’s Race to the Top grant.