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How do public and private schools compare in Honolulu?


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kkornas August 14, 2008


How do public and private schools compare in Honolulu?

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patfromlogan June 3, 2009


Poorly. About one third of secondary ed students are in private - in general, if you can afford it, your kids are in private schools. We were fed up with Utah and wanted to move back to O'ahu. The middle school in Kailua has a bad reputation. When I called them to check out the programs for (somewhat) gifted children, the gal in the office told me that her kids were in private schools...

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2cuteboys September 23, 2009


It is so odd that Hawaii is full of asians who are historically known for valuing education, but they have the worst public ed test scores! Why? What is going on there?

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staciefreeman November 11, 2009


I have 3 kids in school here and have experience with the Moanalua schools from preschool to High school. We are a military family and were warned about the schools here. But to be honest, up until the recent furlough days were implemented this month, I was very happy with Red Hill Elementary, Moanalua Middle and Moanalua High. My youngest qualified for the preschool program because of speech and social delays and within the first 2 months he was speaking so much better. Now in kindergarten it is if there were never a problem. My now 2nd grader was reading before he finished kindergarten! My oldest never had any of the problems with the local kids that were in the school with him that we were warned about and is doing very well. With the furlough days I wonder how the military will eventually respond, this is a very new situation. The teachers are giving kids large packets of schoolwork for the weekend to keep up with their education. Education is something that must be important to parents and parents need to get involved with their kids education and the schools. Parents can add education at home if they feel their kids are lagging or not getting enough education. So pay for private schools if you want but if you're willing to get involved you can bridge any gaps. We have never regretted putting our kids in these particular public schools.

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toucansam August 3, 2010


Budget cuts severely hurt public schools in Hawaii. The State is the sole school district and cut Fridays, called Furlough Fridays from the schedule to save money. Schools let out around 1:00 p.m. on Wednesdays for teachers meetings. It is impossible to educate children adequately with that huge reduction in classroom hours. Tutoring does not make up the gap. The smaller private schools offer tuition assistance and are affordable.

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primary2 January 31, 2011


It actually depends on "which" public school you send your child to AND which private school you choose. Both of my children are still in public school. I am very pleased with the two schools that they were/are attending which are: Royal Elementary School and Kawananakoa Middle School. Both schools have won Blue Ribbon Awards. It is very sad however that a lot of people (even teachers) don't have enough faith to send their children to public schools. The children are tested both in Reading and Math and the standards are very high.

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Sportsmom7 April 24, 2011


Things you should consider as a parent with both private and public experience.
1. Private is $$$, in addition to tuition, uniforms, there are book fees, outing fees, fundraisers, more expensive lunches. Fees go up yearly but services provided do not keep pace.
2. Unless you go to one of the 3 large private schools the private school will probably NOT be able to offer facilities and teachers as good as/equal to public. Private schools can hire teachers without full certifications. Our small church-based school had aides teaching PE and Art. The playgrounds are smaller, there is no caf, the computers are older, band equipment is scare at private.
3. Private absolutely does NOT provide special ed yet you will find special education students in private school because their parents want them there. The students struggle and sometimes disrupt the classes.
4. Public schools have standards-based education, some private schools use whatever method they choose and some are very outdated (namely the church/faith based schools.)
5. Public school has better childcare hours and facilities, better offerings of extracurricular classes after school at better prices.
6. The myth that if your child attends one of the 3 large private schools he will be admitted to a good college and then be "connected" in Hawaii is just that. I know many successful professionals who attended public school only. I also know of children who went to exclusive private schools for 13 years only to attend community college when they graduated.
7. What does private really offer? A controlled environment, sometimes nicer aesthetics and with wealthier donors (Steve Case Middle School for example).
8. If you live in a good school district with performing schools, your child should be fine.
9. If you choose to send your child to a private school you will most likely incur a long commute and drop-off resulting in spending a great deal more on gas and having a sleep-deprived child who is on the road at 630 or 7 am. Your child will also most likely NOT have neighborhood friends so you will also spend your weekends commuting all over the island so that your child can play with his classmates.
10. Public school test results are made public, private schools do not share their results so there is no way to compare them.



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