Senate Passes Provisions to Improve, Expand Native Hawaiian Education

December 9, 2015, 1:34 PM HST · Updated December 9, 1:34 PM
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olelo hawaii. file photo.

olelo hawaii. file photo.

Today by a vote of 85-12, the US Senate passed provisions to improve and expand Native Hawaiian and Native languages education.

The provisions, which now head to the President for his signature, were part of a compromise measure to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.


US Senator Brian Schatz, who introduced several of the provisions, said Native languages “have the power to strengthen the connection between students, their communities and their cultures.”

Among them was the re-authorization of the Native Hawaiian education program which includes the expansion of eligibility to charter schools, and more than $160 million over the next five years.

Other key provisions introduced by Schatz to improve Native Hawaiian education include the following:

  • Language from the Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act, introduced by Senators Schatz and Tester, to create a new grant initiative to establish or expand Native language immersion programs. The grants, Schatz said, will support the revitalization of indigenous languages while increasing educational opportunities for Native Hawaiian, American Indian, and Alaska Native students;
  • Senator Schatz’s amendment authorizing a study of Native American language immersion schools that would provide critical data and help determine best practices for educating native students through the medium of Native American languages including Native Hawaiian.


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