Gabbard Calls on Congress to Support Native Hawaiian Education Act

July 10, 2013, 10:16 AM HST · Updated July 10, 10:25 AM
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy photo, Rep. Gabbard Flickr account.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy photo, Rep. Gabbard Flickr account.

By Wendy Osher

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaiʻi delivered remarks on the floor of the US House of Representatives today, calling on Congress to pass her legislation seeking the re-authorization of the Native Hawaiian Education Act.

Funding for the programs faces an uncertain future in congress following the passage of a bill by a House Education and Workforce Committee on June 19, that if advanced in its current form, would completely eliminate the Native Hawaiian Education Act.

The Native Hawaiian Education Act currently funds a variety of programs here on Maui including: Nā Pua Noʻeau Gifted and Talented Program; Liko Aʻe Native Hawaiian Leadership Program; Tutu And Me; Inpeace; and Keiki o ka ʻAina, to name a few.

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Rep. Gabbard mentioned her recent visit with educators and parents in the Native Hawaiian education community on Maui, Molokaʻi and Kauaʻi saying, “I heard from them about the firsthand successes of this program, which has been in place since 1988.”

She continued her address saying, “Education is by far the best investment that we can make in our economy and in our future. We are empowering and educating the next generation in communities that have largely been under-served, at the same time preserving rich and unique culture, language, and values of our native people.”

Rep. Gabbard noted that the Native Hawaiian Education Act has been serving kids in the state for the last 25 years.  She said, “it’s critical that these innovative programs continue.”

“I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the NHEA, and other programs that can enable and empower our under-served communities to thrive,” she said.

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