11 Native Hawaiian Education Programs to Receive $8.6 M

September 15, 2015, 1:07 PM HST · Updated September 15, 1:07 PM
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University of Hawaii Native Hawaiian scholarships and financial aid. File image courtesy University of Hawaiʻi.

University of Hawaii Native Hawaiian scholarships and financial aid. File image courtesy University of Hawaiʻi.

A total of $8,610,632 in federal grants were awarded to 11 projects in Hawaiʻi to support Native Hawaiian education.

The funding was unveiled in an announcement today from the Hawaiʻi Congressional Delegation.

The US Department of Education funds include grant money for each county in Hawaiʻi.  Projects included in the funding allotment include initiatives to improve academic achievement, strengthen early childhood literacy and readiness programs, assist homeless families, and foster mentorship and academic support programs.

“By providing support for Native Hawaiian education, we are making an investment in the next generation of Native Hawaiians,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in a joint press release announcement. “I recently traveled across Hawaʻi and visited with students, parents and teachers whose lives have been impacted greatly by the Native Hawaiian Education Act’s grants and programs. This funding will continue to build and strengthen important education partnerships between families, schools, and communities while preserving the rich and unique culture, language, and values of Hawaii’s native people.”

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US Senator Brian Schatz also commented saying the funds will help expand and strengthen Native Hawaiian programs in Hawai‘i, at all levels of learning, from pre-K through college.  “The 11 programs supported by these grants address the unique educational needs of Native Hawaiian students by using culturally relevant materials and curricula. In Hawaiʻi, we have seen how these Native Hawaiian education programs can make a real difference in student achievement. That’s why I am working to make sure we continue to make investments in Native Hawaiian education programs and give more students a better shot at success.”

Fellow Senator Mazie Hirono said, “Native Hawaiian traditions are a core part of our state’s identity and each new generation of students should have the opportunity to learn in a culturally-appropriate way.  This funding ensures that organizations that provide Native Hawaiian focused learning programs have the resources they need to improve achievement of Native Hawaiian students, reach rural communities, and expand Hawaiian language and cultural education.”

Congressman Mark Takai said the grants would enable students to succeed and remain competitive.  “It is critical that our keiki, especially those in underserved communities, be afforded every opportunity to grow and expand their educational opportunities. I would like to extend a warm mahalo to the US Department of Education for recognizing the unique challenges that the Native Hawaiian community faces and for taking action to help address this situation,” said Rep. Takai.

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Since 1988, the Native Hawaiian Education Act has provided funding for a competitive grant program administered by the US Department of Education to support innovative education for, and by, Native Hawaiians.

The Hawaii delegation annually supports funding for the program, and has introduced the Native Hawaiian Education Reauthorization Act of 2015 to reauthorize the program to ensure continued support. Both H.R. 5, “The Student Access Act,” and S. 1177 “The Every Child Achieves Act,” have passed the House and Senate, respectively and await reconciliation between the bills.

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