Hawai‘i’s history has roots in many cultures. Native Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, Micronesian, Pacific Island immigrants, and mainland white settlers are all represented in the state’s population. There are also many military families.
Despite the beauty and vibrant communities on the islands, it is not paradise for everyone. An estimated 6,188 residents of Hawai’i are homeless and living on beaches or in shelters. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders comprise a disproportionate 59 percent of the homeless population, which includes 1,700 children.
Outcomes for kids in Hawai‘i public schools have historically been mediocre at best. The quality of education took an additional blow in 2009 when the state implemented “furlough Fridays,” effectively creating 4-day school weeks and reducing the overall number of instructional days for students. Parents, kids, and teachers united in outrage. A year later, furlough Fridays were eliminated, and the state passed a constitutional amendment establishing an appointed Board of Education. A new superintendent also helped create a strategic plan that won a Race to the Top grant.
Since then there has been tremendous energy and urgency around transforming the educational landscape in the state. Our corps continues to grow and partner with others in the community to help ensure that all of Hawai’i’s children have the opportunity to receive the education they deserve.
See more from Executive Director Jill Baldemor in her op-ed in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.