ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
Educating our children is the greatest investment we can make in our future. All students are entitled to a quality public education. Today, our graduates must be prepared to compete in a global economy, and it is our responsibility to cultivate leaders that can handle this challenge. If we have learned anything from the failures of our education system, it’s that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. I believe states should be allowed to develop their own innovate accountability standards to meet the unique needs of their students.
Hawaii has a tremendous opportunity to improve our education system through our $75 million Race to the Top grant, awarded by President Obama’s administration on September 2010. Through this grant, the Department of Education has begun enacting reforms in student assessment, tracking data on student achievement, supporting teachers in the classroom, and turning around our lowest performing schools. I support Hawaii’s strong commitment to increasing enrollment in higher education and ensuring college and career readiness.
We cannot expect future generations of Hawaii students to compete and lead in the global marketplace if we do not help provide them with the necessary education and training. We cannot ask them to govern our communities, and lead our companies and innovate for the future if we do not teach them how. With 47% of Hawaii’s public school students living in poverty, it is in Hawaii’s and the nation’s best interests to devote more resources to provide scholarships, tax breaks and other affordable opportunities to those pursuing careers in health care, science, technology, engineering, and education.
Expanding programs like AmeriCorps, Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, and federal work-study help enable young people to work off their college expenses and provide an education while promoting public service. For fiscal year 2012, Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation helped to secure more millions of dollars to help strengthen Hawaii’s schools, provide more learning opportunities for our students, and modernize our classrooms. The Department of Education awarded our state $47 million in Title I funding to serve at-risk students from low-income families. Another $34 million in funding was provided for Native Hawaiian education, supporting supplemental education services to Native Hawaiians through teacher training, special education, and higher education, and the Native Hawaiian Education Association which administers grants to organizations that develop educational programs and services for Native Hawaiian students of all ages.
For more information concerning my work and views on Education, please contact my Washington, DC office.
I look forward to your feedback.
See also information on student financial aid.