State Sen. Jill Tokuda was presented a 2014 “Champions for Charters” award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools at the U.S. Capitol during National Charter School Week (May 4-10). Tokuda was one of seven federal, state and local elected officials recognized for their work in advancing the growth and success of public charter schools.
In 2011, Sen. Tokuda chaired a task force on charter school governance and accountability that made recommendations for significantly improving Hawai‘i’s charter school law and led the passage of a bill containing the recommendations. Those changes increased Hawai‘i’s charter school law ranking by NAPCS from 35th in the nation in 2012 to 14th in 2013. This year, she sponsored legislation to provide facilities support to public charter schools and continued to work to make improvements to the charter school law.
“Sen. Tokuda’s strong support for Hawai‘i’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,” said Tom Hutton, executive director of the State Public Charter School Commission. Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network executive director Lynn Finnegan said Tokuda is “truly committed to Hawai‘i’s public education system, both charter schools and DOE schools.” “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 charter school sector needs to survive and thrive,” Finnegan said.