Today, the Hawaii Congressional Delegation announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded $8,610,632 in federal grants to support Native Hawaiian education. The grants, which include funding for every county in Hawaii, will support eleven education projects 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 (HI-02). “I recently traveled across Hawaii 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.”
“These funds will help expand and strengthen Native Hawaiian programs in Hawaii, at all levels of learning, from pre-K through college,” said Senator Brian Schatz. "The 11 programs supported by these grants address the unique educational needs of Native Hawaiian students by using culturally relevant materials and curricula. In Hawaii, 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."
“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,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono. "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.”
“The grants announced today will help Native Hawaiian children to excel in school and gain the knowledge needed to succeed in today’s competitive environment,” said Congressman Mark Takai (HI-01). “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 U.S. Department of Education for recognizing the unique challenges that the Native Hawaiian community faces and for taking action to help address this situation.”
Since 1988, the Native Hawaiian Education Act (NHEA) has provided funding for a competitive grant program administered by the U.S. 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 (H.R. 895 and S. 464) to reauthorize the program to ensure it continues to support education for Native Hawaiian students. Language to reauthorize the NHEA is included in both H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, and S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, which both reauthorize the larger education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Both H.R. 5 and S. 1177 have passed the House and Senate, respectively and await reconciliation between the bills.