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Hawaii May Empower Governor to Appoint School Board

In education news out of Hawaii that is NOT about teacher furloughs, voters will have a chance to decide in November whether they want to empower future governors to appoint the state board of education.

Lawmakers there voted yesterday to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that allows voters to decide whether they want to keep their right to elect state school board members or give that job to the governor of the state. State senators would have to confirm those appointments.

Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, had sought a change to the constitution that would have allowed the governor to hire and fire the state superintendent, authority that now resides with the elected school board. The entire state is comprised of one school district.

The folks who favor the switch to appointed board members say it would bring more accountability. Opponents argue it gives the governor too much sway over education policy.

But speaking of those Furlough Fridays that cut short this school year by 17 days and will do the same again next year, Hawaii's lawmakers approved a measure to mandate 180 instructional days for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 academic years. Many states already mandate a minimum number of instructional days; Hawaii has not.

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