(Note: The following excerpts are from Jade Storms’ “Hundreds gather at State Capitol to support early childhood learning,” Hawaii News Now, 14 March 2013. Photos by Sen. Shimabukuro’s staff.)
More than 1,200 children and their families, as well as early education organizations celebrated a day of advancement at the State Capitol rotunda and lawn early Thursday morning to support the bills for early childhood education.
Organizations such as ALU LIKE Inc., Good Beginnings Alliance, INPEACE (Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture), Kamehameha Preschools, Keiki O Ka ‘aina Family Learning Centers and Partners in Development Foundation were all there to demonstrate the importance of early learning experiences that included Family Child Interaction Learning (FACIL).
Sen. Maile Shimabukuro explained that while some parents are urging lawmakers to invest in the future of Hawaii’s children, the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) is against the bill.
“For HSTA, their reasons are that the Department of Education is really struggling as we all know,” Shimabukuro said. “Some children in my district don’t have textbooks, and at Waianae High School they don’t even have doors in their bathroom stalls. The HSTA is really concerned that precious resources and money will fund private preschools, which is like a voucher program.”
Sen. Shimabukuro hopes the bill will be further molded so that it will also support the Department of Education by having an income limit for households, since as of right now, the bill is open to anyone who wants to send their child to preschool.
Sanoe Marfil from Waianae believes that the people who are against the bill are simply not talking to the right people, and therefore it’s difficult for them to understand why early childhood education is important to parents.
The house education committee recently passed out all three early learning measures and were approved with amendments, including the family child interaction learning programs in legislation.
Good Beginnings Alliance will hold another rally and fundraiser on Saturday, March 23. The fundraiser will be held at Wet n’ Wild Hawaii in Kapolei and will feature the Oscar-nominated film, Paranorman. For more information and tickets, visit www.BeMyVoiceHawaii.org
Click here to read the full report at Hawaii News Now.
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