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Lammerman on teacher contract

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Eric Lammerman | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Two years ago, the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE) was awarded a $75 million grant by the federal government. The grant came via President Obama’s “Race To The Top” (RTTT) initiative, which raises expectations for teachers and students.

The year the state was given $75 million to improve the quality of education in Hawaii, its educators were working on an expiring contract.

The current contract was not created through negotiation with the state: It was, more or less, imposed upon teachers.

The “agreement” teachers now are honoring a) pays them less, and b) provides them with less planning time than the previous contract.

RTTT, however, requires teachers to plan more. They have to capture and analyze more student data than they did two years ago. They have to learn a new (and more demanding) curriculum too, and devise effective strategies to teach this new curriculum.

And they will be held more accountable for student performance than ever before.

Two days ago, I thought of a statement teachers could wear to communicate all of the above: “The state of Hawaii got $75 million, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

(Lammerman is a third generation educator. He spent several years working as a tutor and substitute teacher in California, Oregon, and Hawaii. Lammerman completed his teacher certification program through UH Manoa last year, and is currently in his second year as a Special Education teacher at an elementary school in Kailua-Kona.)

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