Opinion and Analysis

Interview with Lyla Berg on the Democratic Mission of Schools (Source: Think Tech Hawaii; July 2015)

Host Jim Shon interviews former teacher, principal, legislator and founder of ‘Kids Voting’ (and all round interesting person) Lyla Berg on the importance of Civic Education in schools and how it pertains to society.

See the YouTube Interview here.


Interview with HSTA President Corey Rosenlee (Source: ThinkTech Hawaii, July 2015)

Host Jim Shon speaks with Corey Rosenlee (President, Hawaii State Teacher’s Association) about the many opportunities and challenges facing the public schools in Hawaii.

Find the Youtube interview here.


Interview with John Corey: STEM for Underserved Pacific Island Youth. (Source; Think Tech Hawaii, July 2015)

Host Jim Shon speaks with John Corey (Northern Pacific for High Tech Youth Network) about empowering underserved youth through learning and development. Find the full interview on their YouTube channel.

Policy Brief; March, 2015

Competency and project based learning policy paper

Basic Policy Questions;

There are many complex layers to implementing competency-based and project-based learning, including creation of authentic assessments. This paper focuses on analysis and strategies that might be considered without needing to completely dismantle the current public school system.

  1. The kind of school. Is there a difference between competency and project based learning at the elementary level – where one teacher is responsible for all subjects – and a middle or high school environment – where there are distinct subjects, realms of knowledge, disciplines, and teacher credentials? If the answer is yes, how would we talk about and address these two educational delivery environments?
  2. Out of school success. Looking at middle and high schools, is it possible to recognize and incorporate authentic learning contexts, such as success in music performance, success in visual arts, success in the science fair, success in History Day, and success in the Speech League? If the answer is yes, are there ways to provide both funding and “equivalency credits” for success in these areas?
  3. Progressive projects. Is it possible to create a progressive series of competencies and projects from elementary through high school that does not require a major overhaul of the State’s GLOs, Learning Objectives and Benchmarks? If the answer is yes, can Complex Areas be tasked with creating these?
  4. Doing what adults do. Is it possible to look at how adults use specific areas of learning as a guide for constructing the progressive series of competencies and projects culminating in a mature portfolio upon graduation? For example, rather than learning about history, would it be possible to require students actually write history – a biography, a history research paper, the history of an event or a place?   Rather than learning how to read and write English in a generic sense, would it be possible to require students to produce a set of poems, short stories, a novel, a screen play, a play?   Rather than learning about biology, would it be possible to require that all students pose a scientific hypothesis and then design and implement experiments to prove or disprove it?
  5. Authentic assessments. We do not judge competency in music through a written test – experts listen to the audition or performance. We do not judge a hula competition through a written test – experts, kupuna – watch and judge. We do not admit any athlete to a team via a written exam – they must try out. And for awarding high quality teachers a special national credential – great and experienced teachers observe and judge. The essential question is whether it is possible to use experienced and expert assessors – such as the judging at the science fair – as a supplement to traditional assessments.


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