East Hawaii News

Survey Reveals Opinions of Public School Principals

March 19, 2015, 2:36 PM HST
* Updated March 19, 2:52 PM
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The Hawaii Education Institute (HEI), an individual think tank, has released the results of a public school survey for principals conducted to add greater transparency to the public school system.

The online survey polled 144 principals statewide, promising participants confidentiality in their responses.

The results of the survey conveyed an atmosphere of fear in the Hawaii public school system, with only two in five principals responding that they felt they could express concern or critique the DOE without fear of reprisal or unfair evaluation.

Principals rated the DOE’s leadership on the low end of the scale for poorly executing Common Core and other recent initiatives, though the majority of respondents supported the program as good for students.

Only one in nine principals expressed confidence in the state Board of Education.


Three out of four principals responded that the DOE’s new teacher evaluation system has negatively affected morale at their schools.


The respondents overwhelmingly supported school empowerment, and Governor Ige’s plan to increase DOE funding allocated by the Weighted Student Formula to 75 percent.

None of the participants disagreed with the following statement: “I would like more flexibility in determining who will and will not work at my school.”

Only one in five responded that the DOE is providing the “system of support” that it is contractually bound to provide.  Twenty-one percent thought the DOE leadership treated them like partners, with the majority saying they felt they were treated like servants.


“Leading research indicates that principals are a key factor for student achievement,” said EIH Executive Director Darrel Galera. “Supporting and empowering principals to be instructional leaders must be a priority, if it is ever to happen.”

The EIH plans to survey teachers, parents, and state-level administrators in the near future.

The complete 2015 Public School Principals Survey can be viewed online.


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