East Hawaii News

Tokuda Credited With Improving Hawaii Charter Schools

May 8, 2014, 2:17 PM HST
* Updated May 8, 2:18 PM
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A state lawmaker was recognized this week in Washington DC for her efforts to improve Hawaii’s charter school system.

Sen. Jill Tokuda was one of seven federal, state and local elected officials named by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools as a “Champion for Charters” for 2014.

Tokuda, who represents the windward side of Oahu and serves as chair of the Senate’s Education Committee, was honored for her efforts Tuesday in a ceremony held for National Charter School Week.

Tokuda chaired a 2011 task force that led to legislation that raised Hawaii’s charter school laws ranking to 14th in the nation in 2013 from 35th the year before, a Senate spokeswoman said.

“This national recognition is as well-deserved as it is impressive,” Tom Hutton, executive director of the State Public Charter School Commission, said in a statement.

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“Sen. Tokuda’s strong support for Hawaii’s public charter schools would be noteworthy on its own, but her sustained engagement in the laborious and often thankless work of strengthening charter school accountability truly has showcased her leadership,” he said.

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“Sen. Tokuda is truly committed to Hawaii’s public education system, both charter schools and DOE schools,” said Lynn Finnegan, executive director of the Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network.

“As Senate Education Chair, Sen. Tokuda has invested a lot of time and effort to learn about the balance between autonomy and accountability that the charters school sector needs to survive and thrive,” Finnegan said.

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