We asked candidates in the 2018 election to respond to the following four questions:
1. Do you support Hawaiian culture-based approaches in education?
The DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, the Charter School Commission Executive Director Sione Thompson, and Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong recently published an OpEd that voiced united support for the DOE’s Nā Hopena Aʻo Policy and Hawaiian culture-based education for all learners throughout Hawaiʻi.
2. Would you support public charter schools receiving per pupil funding on par with the per pupil funding received by other DOE schools?
Not all of public school students are equally supported. Per pupil funding for public charter school students is conservatively 20% less than for other public school students in the DOE.
3. Would you support Hawaiʻi and global environmental sustainability as a high priority among your public policy goals?
Hawaiian culture-based education grows students who practice sustainable lifestyles and who value the long-term well-being of Hawaiʻi’s natural resources. When such education priorities are in sync with the actions of publicly elected leaders, Hawaiʻi can emerge as a world leader in sustainability.
4. Would you support further Hawaiian language proliferation in public education, government offices, and the private sector?
In recent years enrollments in Hawaiian language immersion schools have seen significant increases. Hawaiian language speakers are also using ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi much more prominently in government, commerce, and everyday contexts.
Here are the candidates’ responses:
(continued) “Restricted use pesticides must be eliminated from our farming practices and policies. There is no economy without protecting our environment. Every policy, program, legislation and all which is done in Hawai’i needs to take the environment as the first priority. I have fought for re-introducing water back into the streams of East Maui, even petitioning to be an intervenor in the successful case before the Commission on Water Resource Management. My opponent hesitated about whether a private corporation would keep its long term lease of our water, which, according to our State Constitution, is a public trust, and not to be bought and sold by a private corporation.”
(continued) “I think this would go a long way to bridging the divide between our ethnic groups and make it clear that we all respect and treasure the Hawaiian culture. To this end I have introduced a couple different bills, one was to fully fund the Office of Hawaiian Education (the bill died as we ended up funding it through the budgetary process instead) and another was a pilot project to choose 3 public schools to implement Hawaiian language education (it died for lack of funds). I also sponsored HB2643, which aimed to include Hawaiian language on all traffic signs on state and county lands. As someone who is bilingual (mandarin) I understand the benefits of speaking a second language, not just from a cultural standpoint but in the way it positively effects brain function.”