Public schools on Oahu are always a topic of much attention and debate in Hawaii. Public schools in Hawaii have been harshly criticized for the quality of education, but in the past few years, even more so for the teacher furloughs that in 2008, resulted in the equivalent of a 3 1/2 day school week for students.
Many parents opt for private schools on Oahu, but is it really necessary? Good question. Some schools are clearly better or worse than others, but since the test scores of private schools are not often public and compared to those in public schools, we are not really comparing apples to apples.
Questions about public schools are among the most frequent ones Home Shoppe Hawaii gets from people moving to the island. It is difficult to provide good advice on this topic because each child is so different and so many factors influence how a child will do in school.
One source of information for parents on Oahu public schools and Oahu public school rankings is the most recent Honolulu Magazine Article on Oahu Public Schools. Honolulu Magazine does this ranking of Hawaii public schools every year or two. The survey uses for objective and subjective factors. Home Shoppe Hawaii also encourages parents also to contact each school directly. Most schools, even at the elementary school level have websites. A lot of information can be gained from speaking to the teachers at the schools, themselves, as well.
There are also resources online that provide opportunities for parents to discuss and evaluate public and private schools. Among these are Great Schools (www.greatschools.org) and School Digger (www.schooldigger.com). Another resource, I found recently is the StudentsFirst.org Report Card.
If you are not happy with the Oahu public school district in which you live, or in which you can afford to live, another idea to explore is the feasibility of geographical exemptions for certain public schools or public charter schools on Oahu. Many people apply for geographic exemptions, and get them, every year.
The bottom line on Oahu public schools is that a parent should do their research and get the facts, as well as the opinions, before deciding between public schools and private schools on Oahu. Then, they should look closely at their own children and themselves, to determine the environment in which they would be the most comfortable and successful. A child’s achievement in school is often just as dependent upon the child’s own motivation and the level of parental involvement, as it is on the resources available to the school, whether public or private.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS ON OAHU:
Hawaii Public Schools Website - Hawaii State Department of Education Website
Honolulu Magazine Public School Guide - Special issue of Honolulu Magazine published at least every two years on various topics involving Honolulu Public Schools and the rankings of Oahu Public Schools - do a key word search to find many articles on Honolulu public schools and public schools in other parts of the island of Oahu.
Honolulu Family - Part of Honolulu Magazine’s site - Search their site for the phrase “public schools” and you will find many articles on the topic.