Rally Seeks to Stop Pāʻia Lottery for Hawaiian Immersion

May 1, 2013, 8:16 AM HST · Updated May 1, 8:29 AM
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Hawaii flag. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawaii flag. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

A rally will be held on Thursday, May 2, to protest the planned lottery for placement in the Hawaiian language immersion kindergarten at Pāʻia Elementary School on Maui.

In a letter to parents, Principal Susan Alivado said the numbers of applicants for Geographic Exceptions received by March 1 had exceeded the school’s two-classroom capacity.

A total of 53 applicants have reportedly sought admission into the program, but according to Alivado’s letter, the lottery would limit GE approval to the first 40 names drawn in the lottery format.

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Those opposed to the lottery say the system denies children the right to Hawaiian language immersion education and restricts the growth of language revitalization.

Event organizers say the rally is being held in support of fair and equal access to Hawaiian language education, and have produced flyers with the phrase, “Don’t gamble with our keiki.”

The rally will be held at the State Building on Thursday afternoon, May 2, at 4 p.m. A second rally is planned on Monday, May 6, at 7:15 a.m. at Pāʻia School.

The lottery, meantime, is scheduled for Monday, May 6, at 9 a.m. at the old student dining room.

The rally event is sponsored by Nā Leo Kākoʻo O Maui, the nonprofit support group for Ke Kula Kaiapuni O Maui (the Hawaiian Language Immersion Schools).

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