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The birth of Hawai‘i’s Blueprint for Public Education

Posted on Aug 25, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

The team that developed “Hawai‘i’s Blueprint for Public Education” after the 2016 Education Summit.

“How do we create a public education system that prepares graduates for their futures — not our past?”  — Governor David Ige

If it takes a village to raise a child, it took a whole state to come together on Governor Ige’s “Hawai‘i’s Blueprint for Public Education.” The document — the result of thousands of community voices, student and teacher input and dozens of grassroots meetings across the state — gave people the chance to weigh in on what they wanted to see in their public schools.  The kick-off was an all-day, public Education Summit in July 2016 that drew more than 1,000 people, followed by town hall meetings on every island, to hear people’s concerns and ideas.

Student voices were an important part of developing the Blueprint and at the Summit.

The result was a blueprint that is still relevant today, with three priorities that set the bar high for public education:

  • All students empowered and prepared to be innovators and global citizens;
  • All educators successfully empowered to teach, lead, motivate, empathize an innovate to achieve equity and excellence;
  • A statewide system driven by innovation, transparency, empowered leadership and Hawai‘i’s unique values and beliefs.

Why are “empowerment” and “innovation” so important for the public schools?  Governor Ige said, “Initiative, empowerment and innovative thinking are the qualities our students need to succeed in the 21st century. The world is changing so fast, we need more than a one-size-fits-all model.” Why was the blueprint needed?  A new federal law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), gave the state more control over its own school systems. “Our ESSA team focused on more school empowerment rather than a ‘one size fits all” approach,” said the governor. “We needed a group willing to dedicate itself to a community-wide conversation about how to prepare students for the 21stcentury.”

Darrel Galera, ESSA team chair, praised the commitment of the volunteer team, who gave up a large part of their free time to talk to people statewide about improving our schools. He also gave credit to Governor Ige for seizing the opportunity to engage the community. “The governor’s leadership and vision are what made the difference,” he said. “We’ve been amazed by the response from the community. It’s an affirmation of who we are and what we believe in for our children.”  For more on the team members and their work, go to Page 3 of the December 2016 Capitol Connection at


Read more in the September Capitol Connection newsletter.

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