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Committed to a vision of education change and reform

Posted on Nov 8, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

Kalani High’s Mike Ida is Hawai‘i Teacher of the Year.

The bottom line: Since 2015, the governor and his team have focused on education reform for empowerment in our public schools — from developing the Hawai‘i Blueprint for Public Schools to Early College and Hawai‘i Promise to recent pre-K facility funding and grants to support innovative, real-world learning and school partnerships. The vision of what Hawai‘i’s public schools and the University of Hawai‘i system could be has been at the heart of the governor’s drive to improve education.     

Transforming entire statewide education systems in a pandemic was no small feat, but Hawaii’s public schools and the 10-campus University of Hawai‘i system managed to do it. The DOE transitioned to distance instruction, then implemented plans for each school complex to decide when students could move to in-person learning. Meanwhile, more than 45,000 UH system college students across the state successfully completed their education with record-high graduation rates.


  • A team formed by the governor developed Hawai‘i’s Blueprint for Public Schools in 2016 to encourage empowerment and innovation in Hawai‘i’s public schools. Over 3.000 people across the state provided input as the Blueprint was developed. The document guided the Department of Education’s strategic plan and moved away from a top-down, one-size-fits-all model.
  • The Ige administration worked with the legislature on a $100 million appropriation so the DOE could cool 1,300 classrooms at 88 schools on five islands to create the conditions for success and make it easier for students to learn.
  • The governor was a strong advocate for programs like Early College and Hawai‘i Promise, as a pathway to higher-paying jobs and better careers, to make it easier for students to afford higher education.
  • The governor also focused attention on universal pre-K to give all Hawai‘i keiki a head start on success. The state now has a new School Facilities Authority (SFA) to expand public pre-K by 2024 with a historic investment of $200 million.
  • To build on the Blueprint, the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief innovation grants were awarded to 31 schools, UH system campuses and organizations working as partners to develop programs that challenged students and teachers to look at issues in new ways.


  • New UH graduates celebrate reaching their milestones.

    With 10 campuses statewide, the University of Hawai‘i system contributes to every aspect of life in Hawai‘i — from training residents for high-demand careers to research in world-leading science. UH is also recognized as a global leader in sustainability.

  • With the governor’s support, UH launched Hawai‘i’s Promise to decrease financial barriers to education.
  • In 2021, 34 UH Native Hawaiian education programs across the 10-campus system were awarded more than $17.7 million in federal funding to train residents for high-demand jobs for the future.
  • A $16.4 million grant in 2022 will provide training at the UH community colleges for some 3,000 Hawai‘i workers in clean energy, creative industries, health care and technology sectors.
  • Governor Ige has designated the UH system to lead and coordinate a broad-scale strategic investment effort to ensure that all of Hawai‘i’s citizens have access to robust and reliable broadband services.


Read more in the November/December Capitol Connection newsletter.

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