November 16, 2016

Hirono Announces Federal Funding to Improve Educational Data

During Every Students Succeeds Act Debate, Hirono Pushed for Improved Data on AAPI Students

Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that the Hawaii Department of Education will receive more than $223,000 in U.S. Department of Education funding to improve data disaggregation for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. Disaggregating data helps to better understand unique student populations, making it easier for schools and teachers to provide better targeted resources and strategies to help students learn.

“This funding continues our efforts to bridge educational disparities within the AAPI community, ensuring that each and every child receives the support they need,” said Senator Hirono.

“Seventy-two percent of our students fall under the AAPI racial and ethnic umbrella. For our EL student populations, our schools use an array of supports to improve English language acquisition and overall EL student achievement,” said Hawaii State Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This funding will help us better understand which subgroups are succeeding and which subgroups may need additional supports.”

The federal catch-all “Asian/Pacific Islander” category currently used hides differences in academic performance between the more than 48 AAPI ethnicities. This grant will allow the Hawaii Department of Education to further disaggregate data in order to improve programs and initiatives, especially for English Learner students.

When the recent renewal of federal K-12 education laws, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), was being crafted Senator Hirono introduced an amendment supported by more than 100 advocacy groups to require detailed disaggregated reporting on student achievement in school districts with more than 1,000 AAPI students. While that amendment was not successful, the final law includes Senator Hirono’s compromise proposal that provides resources for states that request it with technical assistance on AAPI data to help them improve student achievement nationwide.