UH, Good Beginnings Alliance and DOE Form Educational Partnership to Support Lifelong Learning

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Oct 21, 2002

The Good Beginnings Alliance, Hawaiʻi Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi announced today the formation of a progressive partnership effort to improve student achievement from early education, elementary and secondary school, and on to college and graduate school.

United for Learning: The Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative will promote a seamless education system to ensure successful lifelong learning for all students — whether they be a youngster in a early childhood program, a high school senior on the cusp of significant career decisions or a graduate student preparing to become a new teacher in Hawaiʻi‘s schools.

P-20, a term created to represent a child‘s educational progression from pre-school and before to graduate school and beyond, calls for a different kind of collaboration among the partners with a focus on improving the knowledge and skills of Hawaiʻi‘s students. The "P" refers to provisions for early learning; the "20" refers to the years of schooling thereafter through the graduate level and beyond.

The complex nature of today‘s society presents new challenges for educators, and improved cooperation between Hawaiʻi‘s three main education systems is required to efficiently face that challenge. Good Beginnings Executive Director Elisabeth Chun, DOE Superintendent Pat Hamamoto and UH President Evan Dobelle met in April 2002 to discuss ways to improve connections across Hawaiʻi‘s three education systems and to form collaborative relationships.

All agreed that "paramount issues confront education in Hawaiʻi and it is critical to instill in our students the belief that learning is a lifelong process — education begins at birth and does not end with a degree. The Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative is the first step in changing how Hawaiʻi regards education."

The goal of the P-20 initiative is essentially to improve student achievement at all levels of education. Steps will be taken to achieve this goal, including ensuring that early childhood teachers, K-12 and university-level teachers and administrators are well prepared and qualified to teach, manage and lead. The initiative will examine where transitions are difficult for children and what can be done to better prepare children and the system for the next step. The alignment of curriculum and assessments across levels, and the enhancement of early learning opportunities for young children are areas that will also be explored.

Approximately 24 other states have initiated P-20 standards of rebuilding and reforming their education systems through lifelong learning. Hawaiʻi stands to benefit by adopting these successful programs that created a collaborative relationship between educational systems.

A statewide P-20 Coordinating Council, anticipated to be in place in early 2003, will provide high level leadership, resources, and commitment to keep the initiative on track and focused upon common goals. Members of the P-20 Coordinating Council will include administrators and board chairs of the three partners. Additionally, there will be representatives from labor unions, parent organizations, independent schools and colleges, the Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board and the Hawaiʻi Association for the Education of Young Children.

The P-20 Coordinating Council will evaluate and determine how best to achieve such goals as increasing access to quality early childhood programs; increasing the number of university students preparing to teach in Hawaiʻi; creating compatible databases for early education, the Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi; creating professional development schools; and supporting and promoting the Hawaiʻi Educational Policy Center.

The P-20 partners welcome public comment on United for Learning: The Hawaiʻi P-20 Initiative. A web site will soon be available at p20.hawaii.org. Documents will be posted and information describing the initiative and its background will be available on the site.

Good Beginnings Alliance is a nonprofit intermediary organization designated in Hawaiʻi statutes to promote and coordinate policies and programs that place a priority on a child‘s first five years. Good Beginnings‘ partnerships between Hawaiʻi‘s families, communities and the public and private sectors allow it to help identify needs and provide support for the healthy development of young children throughout the state.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Education operates a statewide public school system with 258 public schools serving nearly 180,000 students in grades K-12, including 20,000 special education students. Another 3,000 students attend 25 public charter schools. The standards-based curriculum prepares all graduates with the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and to compete globally in pursuing their individual choices in higher education and careers.

The University of Hawaiʻi is the state‘s only public postsecondary education system and is comprised of 10 campuses throughout the state — the flagship campus at Mānoa, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on the Big Island, the University of Hawaiʻi—West Oʻahu on the leeward side of Oahu, and the UH Community Colleges, which includes four campuses on Oʻahu — Honolulu, Kapiʻolani, Leeward and Windward — and one each on Maui, Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi.

For more information, visit: http://p20.hawaii.org