Support Education for Homeless Hawaiian Children

Target: Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie

Goal: Support new laws expanding pre-kindergarten education for homeless children.

In what is expected to be the first step towards a state-funded pre-school program, governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie recently signed into law a bill promising $7 million worth of aid to nearly 1,000 homeless Hawaiian children. This is an important move forward for Hawaii, which has previously lagged behind as one of ten states without a state-funded pre-kindergarten program. It is vital to support this measure as we urge the state of Hawaii to improve pre-kindergarten education for impoverished families.

There are currently over 15,000 homeless individuals in Hawaii. Of these homeless families a disproportionate number are of native Hawaiian heritage, which contributed to the state’s decision to allocate most of the $7 million to Ka Paalana travelling preschool. The recently-accredited institution aims to preserve the traditions of the Native Hawaiian people while also providing children with a top-notch education. The program also provides employment opportunities for homeless adults, who often look after the children in between state-sponsored vocational training.

Pre-kindergarten education is critical for children’s development, particularly the often at-risk children of homeless families. In many cases public elementary schools assume that children have preschool experience, leading to a highly stressful and bewildering environment for those children who have not attended a preschool. Additionally, very few elementary schools in Hawaii teach children in the Hawaiian language, leading many Native Hawaiian parents who cannot afford preschool to worry for the cultural heritage of their children.

It is vital that homeless children be provided with the best education possible, particularly given the unique economic and cultural situation of Hawaii. Now is the time to show our support for this aid package, with the hope of further measures being taken to provide education for homeless Hawaiians.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Neil Abercrombie,

The Hawaiian state legislature has recently passed a bill promising $7 million to aid nearly 1,000 homeless children in receiving pre-kindergarten education at an accredited preschool. Needless to say, this is an extremely important and unprecedented step for the poverty-plagued homeless population of Hawaii, particularly considering the special considerations made to help preserve the culture and traditions of native Hawaiians.

While previously Hawaii has lagged behind other states in regard to state-sponsored pre-kindergarten education, it is good to know that steps are being taken to remedy this. We write in support of this new direction, and with the hopes of an eventual official state-sponsored pre-kindergarten program with a focus on the impoverished.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Image Credit to Joel Bradshaw via Wikimedia Commons

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