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Advocacy priorities

Supporting strong education systems

We believe that by advocating for a strong continuum in our education systems, we will promote achievement for every Native Hawaiian learner, and ensure a brighter future for education in Hawai‘i. We know that Hawaiian culture-based education will serve as a competitive advantage for all Hawai‘i’s children.

Early Learning

Early learning supports positive outcomes in academics, promotes emotional well-being, and provides our keiki a strong foundation for a lifetime of success. Unfortunately, only 1 in 4 in Hawai‘i attend early learning programs.

The Right Investment for a Lifetime of Success:

Early learning equips keiki with the social competence and cognitive skills they need to succeed.1

Early learning improves learners’ abilities in language and math.2

Students who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school and college.3

How we support early learning:

  • Delivering Hawaiian culture-based preschool education in 30 Nā Kula Kamali‘i preschools serving 1,677 keiki statewide.
  • Awarding over 1,500 Pauahi Keiki Scholarships for KS and non-KS preschools annually.
  • Advocating for the expansion of early learning opportunities for all keiki, particularly with public preschool in DOE, charter, and ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i classrooms.
  • Providing approximately $50M for KS preschools, preschool scholarships, and grants to non-KS preschools and early learning programs.

Digital Equity

In this time of rapid change and unprecedented public health and economic challenges, we believe that quality education depends on access to the latest learning tools and constant connection. Guaranteeing equitable access to quality digital education, especially Hawaiian-Culture Based Education options, is necessary to ensure success throughout our students’ educational journeys.

Bridging the Digital Divide

Only 51% of Hawai‘i residents have access to affordable broadband plans.4

Native Hawaiians have lower levels of internet access than other groups, with the largest gap in high-speed broadband subscription rates.5

The Hawaiʻi Department of Education survey also found that Native Hawaiian students in public education were far less likely to have sufficient devices for each family member at home for distance learning (43% Native Hawaiians, 29% all students statewide).6

How we support digital equity in education:

  • Building and implementing of KS Digital, a high-quality digital platform for Hawaiian-Culture Based Education students at Kamehameha Schools (PK-12) and community partners.
  • Partner with the Department of Education and selected charter schools to provide KS Digital as an online learning tool.
  • Partner with community-based organizations to provide devices to Native Hawaiian families.
  • Advocate for and support state legislation to dedicate CARES Act funding to the Department of Education and Charter Commission to provide devices and internet access for schools with identified needs.
  • Advocate for and support state legislation to establish a state broadband infrastructure grant program to provide broadband service to unserved and underserved areas in Hawai‘i.

Career Pathways

Year after year, more people make the difficult choice to leave Hawai‘i in search of economic opportunities. To assist learners in their journey of personal and professional career development, we believe that new career pathways must be created that elevate employability and technical skills, including pathways that support strengthening Native Hawaiian identity. Providing affordable and meaningful support and career services will enable Native Hawaiians to pursue rewarding careers right here in Hawai‘i.

Clearing the Path to Prosperity

Hawai‘i has seen its population decline in both 2017 and 2018, with concerns rising over the increasing number of young families leaving the state.7

Hawai‘i’s college-going rate has stagnated at 55% for numerous years.8

Only around 10% of Hawai‘i residents hold an advanced degree.9

How we support success in college & career:

  • Offering the Kāpili ‘Oihana Internship Program to provide Native Hawaiian students the opportunity to participate in "real world" career experiences.
  • Advocating for affordable higher education through scholarships for qualified students.
  • Advocating for scholarship and programs that support key industries and workforce shortages such as Teach Our Own teacher program and directly supporting the increase of licensed Kula Kaiapuni teachers through Ka ‘Auwai Kaiapuni.

1 National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. “The Science of Early Childhood Development.” (2007): 4-8.
2 Vivian C. Wong, Thomas D. Cook, W. Steven Barnett, and Kwanghee Jung. “An effectiveness-based evaluation of five state pre-kindergarten programs.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 27, No. 1 (2008): 122-154.
3 Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. “Abecedarian Project.”
4 Broadband Now. (2021, February 2). The State of Broadband in Hawaii.
5 United States Census Bureau. (2019, December 19). American Community Survey 2014-2018 5-Year Estimates Now Available.
6 Hawaii Department of Education. (2020a, June). Teacher and Student Distance-Learning Survey.
7 The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. “College-Going Rates of High School Graduates - Directly from High School.”
8 The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. “Graduation Rates.”
9 U.S. Census Bureau. "2013-2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.”

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