2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 68%
Hawaii earns a “D” in the national rankings for its weak charter school law. The State Public Charter School Commission, which heavily regulates charter schools, is the main authorizer, though public and private colleges and universities, county and state education agencies, and non-profits can apply to the state Board of Education to authorize schools. While Hawaii does not cap the number of charter schools, neither does it provide equitable funding.
- Law passed: 1994
- Number of charters: 36
- Estimated charter school enrollment: 10,900
- Virtual charter schools permitted
- Hawaii does not cap the number of charter schools that can be authorized
- Charter schools are allowed to contract with CMOs and EMOs for management support
- Hawaii earns a 5 out of 15 points for “authorizing.” The Public Charter School Commission is the main authorizer, and it is monitored by the state Board of Education. Institutions of higher education, country and state education agencies, and non-profits are all eligible authorizers under Hawaii law, but as of these rankings only the Public Charter School Commission authorizes schools. Schools may appeal authorizer decisions, which allows for some recourse against arbitrary and/or political decision-making. But all authorizers must submit reports to the Board of Education, which gives it ample power.
- Hawaii earns 11 out of 15 points for “growth.” This is because Hawaii does not cap the number of charter schools that can exist. But the regulatory environment in the state has led to slow growth in the sector, which harms Hawaii’s overall score.
- Hawaii earns 9 of 20 points for “operations.” Charters receive a blanket waiver from most regulations that affect district schools. However, the Commission heavily regulates charters, especially charter finances, which greatly limits autonomy. Additionally, charter schools are subject to the master collective bargaining agreement that applies to all Hawaiian teachers, and all teachers must be traditionally certified. Collective bargaining limits teacher freedom and limits schools from hiring the right candidates and innovating in the areas of school structure and management.
- Hawaii earns 4 of 15 points for “funding equity.” Charter school funding is a line item in the state budget, making charters vulnerable to budget cuts and other funding inequities.
Teacher Quality Score: 68%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D-
Expanding the Pool of Teachers D-
Identifying Effective Teachers B-
Retaining Effective Teachers C
Exiting Ineffective Teachers C
Overall State Grade D+