Face to Face:
An Interview with Dr. Mary Anne Raywid
On December 4, 1989, Dr. Raywid delivered a lecture at the University of Hawaii, Manoa entitled "Reflections on a System in Transition" - see digest elsewhere. Professor Melvin Ezer, Professor of Education and Chair of the Department of Educational Foundations, when introducing Dr. Raywid, commented that "when Mary Anne Raywid speaks everyone is quiet." Well your Leo Hana editor was that night, but she was given the opportunity to dialogue with Dr. Raywid a few days later. Below is a rough recapturing of that face-to-face interview.
Q- How can the League move the education issues forward?
Response- There are many forces in the community which need to be counterbalanced. Public Welfare should be the main focus. There are two roles that the League can play: One might be to provide forums where the League devises the questions - such as the role of the Board of Education, the role of the Legislature in education; and second, to work towards a change in the BOE election procedures.
Q- What are the community forces needed to make change?
R- In order to make structural changes you must be willing to countenance anti-establishment […] before you can talk of restructuring. Those whose roles will be jarred by change will oppose change; human beings have interests to preserve so it is not surprising that there is difficulty.
The Business Roundtable may be ready to take a coalition role. The ILWU has not supported change ideas. The Democratic "Summit" did not come out with a platform which might support restructuring.
Q- What are your reflections on the high percentage of private school Students and the forces necessary for change to occur?
R- There is no question that there is an effect. These are the ablest students and the families who would insist on changes. One of the schools' predicaments is precisely this kind of loss.
Q- The state is the "big daddy of education" - Will there be a trend toward county control?
R- The Berman Report proposed the setting up of seven school districts with seven local boards which would make independent policy decisions. The press has not clearly "named" the issues, that is what I have tried to do in my lectures.
Q- The constitutionally described education structure permits the legislature to be the screening committee for educational discussions; can you comment?
P- I cannot believe that the schools will be better run by layman than by educators, and what comes out of the legislative process is not calculated to be helpful. For instance, adopting School Based Management for the whole system without even trying it is problematical.
Q- Do you feel that you are being heard?
R- Yes, I can see the difference we have made in some of the moves the DOE has made. For instance, the Learning Center publication distributed in the newspaper might have been a response to the issues raised. People have asked for my papers or for me to talk before their group so I have reached a fairly wide audience.
Q- What is needed to keep the impetus going?
R- The hard questions need to be asked. A watchdog agency is needed.
Gunyar Myurdal said that the major impetus to change in social evolution and improvement in this country is the logical discrepancy between what we say we believe in and what actually exists - and eventually there is a strong tendency to reconcile the existing scene with logic of what we have proclaimed and what ought to be.
Those who are involved may need to be people circulating from outside the education system in order to avoid the emotional claims that are made in this community on relationships which thus blur issues.
Q- Is being a change agent a shift in role for you?
R- Some of my time previously has been as a change-agent, but here it has been 70% or more. My time at the university has been a blending of this. One earlier course was on educational and reform policy - an academic course looking at national and state level changes. This semester the course has been on schools within schools. Five or six proposals will evolve and they might be of value here in Hawaii. On the whole, it has been a bringing to bear the fruits of my scholarly work. Few scholars are involved in change: there usually is a sharp separation between scholarly work and what they do in the community.
Q- Leo Hana notes that you cite clearing what occurs elsewhere and then are able to define the issues for the community.
R- That has been my scholarly contribution. Reform policy has been my focus for the last few years. My talk of December 4th tried to pull these studies and experiences together. It was developed to answer the question raised by discussions on innovation, the three-way division (Pseudo-Reform, Incremental Reform, Restructuring) was a response to that. By seeking to clarify the divisions here, the subject should be instructive for people on the mainland, too; it will be published in the spring.
I will continue to communicate with Marion Saunders and the education committee. A sense of community and an obligation to community is disappearing on the mainland. A sense of obligation to public good exists here - and Marion is a model for that - a commitment to making things right.
The League offers one of the avenues for people to do that. It may attract members. League may be a focus in helping newcomers reach full membership status in the community and make a contribution.
People who have an inclination to serve and don't know what to do with their inclination may be a valuable part of League and the community.