Dean Donald B. Young and Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman

By Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman and Dean Donald B. Young

Posted June 19, 2016 | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

There has been much discussion about the surprise “proviso” in the state budget inserted in the final days of the 2016 Legislature, without any public hearings, by which the Legislature tried to force the relocation of the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s College of Education (COE).

Not only is this impractical, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Since the Territorial Normal and Training School was transferred to UH in 1931 creating COE, the fourth college of the University of Hawaii, it has evolved as a complex institution preparing future teachers, educational leaders and researchers.

It serves all islands and all areas, including West Oahu, and is consistently ranked among the top 100 Best Graduate Schools of Education in the nation (66th in 2016) by U.S. News &World Report.

As an additional indicator of quality, all programs are nationally accredited with no conditions.

While the COE continues to prepare the bulk of the state’s teachers, it is also the only state institution that prepares educational leaders and educational researchers at all levels, preschool through higher education.

Of its nearly 2000 students, 54 percent are undergraduates, 46 percent are in graduate programs; 35 percent are in programs leading to teacher licensure and 37 percent are in leadership development programs in one of eight master or four doctoral programs.

In addition, over 500 undergraduate students are in the Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science (KRS) bachelor’s degree program in Health and Exercise Science preparing athletic trainers and physical therapists that require the sophisticated facilities and equipment shared with athletics. KRS faculty also provide many of the required physical education courses and intramural offerings at Manoa and account for many of the over 3,000 students who registered for COE classes in spring 2016.

These programs can only function in a flagship institution where students have access to researchers and faculty in nearly all of the numerous colleges and schools available at UH-Manoa.

Even more to this point, COE students are required to take many courses that are only available on the Manoa campus.

It is also important to note that COE faculty came with the understanding they would be teaching at a major four-year research institution. Their salaries were agreed to based on this agreement. Many are involved in teaching and mentoring over 750 graduate students.

On the research side, the only research in special education in the state is conducted by COE faculty; the Curriculum Research &Development Group is the only K–12 curriculum development unit in Hawaii; the Center on Disability Studies is the only unit in Hawaii conducting research and training for those with disabilities and COE generates approximately $20 million in research/training contracts and grants annually.

COE graduates can be found in all of the public schools across the state and in many private schools as well. Our doctoral students are leaders in education across the state and the Pacific region.

To prepare great teachers and leaders, you need a respected, professional college.

We already have one, and to ensure its continued success, it must remain part of UH Manoa.

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