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LETTERS for the January 18 issue

By Staff | Jan 18, 2018

Share your thoughts on immigration

Earlier today, Jan. 9, I went to the White House to fight for the 800,000 DREAMers the president threatened to deport when he ended the DACA program in September.

During the meeting, the Secretary of Homeland Security made the absurd claim that no one has lost their DACA status since the president’s announcement. Here’s the truth: over 10,000 DREAMers have already lost their protection from deportation, and 122 more will lose theirs every single day.

Many DREAMers have only this country to call home. They are our friends and coworkers; neighbors who strengthen our communities. And we made a promise that we’d protect them.

As someone who came to this country as a young child, I care deeply about the experience of immigrants; that’s why I’m fighting for them every day in the Senate, but I’d love to hear from you.

Do you have a moment to share your thoughts on immigration? Here’s the link: surveys.signforgood.com/hirono-daca-response.

Mahalo for taking a moment to share.



Arts and cultural spending increasing in Hawaii

While many of us are engaged with the high arts and cultural season in Hawaii – which we will experience in the months ahead with the forecasted weather conditions for the U.S. Mainland Lower 48 – others and myself continue looking for federal funding and other avenues for those looking to support the arts and culture of the Hawaiian Islands.

Research has shown us by historical record that the arts and cultural spending continue to rise in Hawaii. Americans for the Arts has reported that in Hawaii, non-profits and cultural organizations, and their audiences, totaled $205.6 million in spending in Fiscal Year 2015. We expect that number to increase as our creative mission moves forward.

Through our hands-on art projects, visual education, acting and hula dance lessons by people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, we continue to enhance our personal creative journey here and our endeavors to bring to our visitors and communities on a world stage, which each of us contribute to.

Here at home in Maui County, where I have been a resident since 1999, our awakening has moved to highlight Indigenous Hawaii. Sharing of arts workshops, dance, music, woodcarving, science resources and storytelling gives each of us the path to exploring. Interpretation of na mea Hawaii (Hawaiian things) fuels our innate curiosity of the Hawaiian cultural practices that are not commonplace these days, even in these islands.

There is the East Hawaii Cultural Center on the Big Island of Hawaii; Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center in Upcountry Maui, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, Maui Film Festival, Historic ‘Iao Theater in Wailuku, and Lahaina Arts Society; Lanai and Molokai Arts Centers; Kauai’s art gallery growth; and Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu Theater and Bishop Museum… with all of us in between. Many thanks for being part of the scene.



Time to focus on school choice

Later this month, schools, homeschool groups, organizations and individuals in Hawaii and across America will work together to raise awareness about the importance of opportunity in K-12 education.

National School Choice Week begins on Jan. 21 and celebrates all types of schools and education environments for children.

Nationwide, 32,240 different events and activities – such as open houses, school fairs and information sessions – are being planned, with an estimated attendance of 6.7 million people. In fact, 80 of those events and activities will be held in Hawaii.

National School Choice Week has been celebrated every year since 2011. And even with increased awareness, many families still have questions about school choice and how it can benefit them and their communities.

The first thing to know is that school choice isn’t partisan or political. It isn’t about a specific set of policy goals either. Rather, it’s about parents making personal decisions for their children.

School choice means empowering individual parents with the opportunity to search for, and find, the best education environments for their individual children – regardless of where they live or how much money they make.

Finding the right school is important, because every child has unique talents, challenges and needs. School choice isn’t about finding fault with any of the schooling options available. Instead, it recognizes that while one student might thrive at a neighborhood school, another student might do better somewhere else.

Research shows that when parents actively choose schools and education environments for their children, students are more likely to succeed in school. They are also more likely to graduate from high school, get good jobs and participate in their communities.

School choice isn’t just theoretical. Right now, more parents in Hawaii and across America are actively choosing the education environments for their children than at any other time in history.

National School Choice Week provides parents with an opportunity to evaluate the education options available for their children. If parents are interested in switching their child to a different school, or considering homeschooling, it helps to start looking into these options in the winter.

Families in Hawaii can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies and homeschooling.

Searching for a new school, or considering an alternative education environment, doesn’t have to be daunting. Parents can start by talking to their children and other parents, researching schools online and visiting schools in person. A good place to start is the National School Choice Week website at www.schoolchoiceweek.com, where we provide more information about specific school choice options in the Aloha State as well as listings of the tens of thousands of local and regional events happening this year.

National School Choice Week is a time when the country comes together around the idea that every child can succeed when they find the right school fit. This January, parents have more options and opportunities than ever before to find that right fit. For individual communities and for our country, that is a good thing.

ANDREW R. CAMPANELLA, President, National School Choice Week