Categorized | Education

OHA awards $1.5M to charter schools


For the third consecutive year, the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) approved $1.5 million in emergency funding to Hawaiian-focused public charter schools for the 2011-2012 school year to address budgetary shortfalls the schools will be facing.

“On behalf of Na Lei Naauao, our Native Hawaiian Charter School Alliance (NLN), we are truly grateful for OHA’s continued support,” said Taffi Wise, Executive Director of Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana (KALO). “Through incredibly dedicated communities, the EA-Education with Aloha movement continues to grow on all levels and on every island.”

Wise further explains that despite insurmountable external challenges, Na Lei Naauao has created uniquely successful values-based models of education that are at once ancient and modern. The schools’ successes validate NLN’s capacity to design and control the process of education dedicated to perpetuating Hawaii’s language, culture and traditions. The process helps the native learning communities honor the past, address the present and serve the future.

Research confirms that Hawaiians in charter schools perform better on standardized reading and math tests and are significantly less chronically absent than Hawaiians in standard public schools. Na Lei Naauao schools have high levels of school engagement and positive achievements due to culturally grounded, strength-based approaches, which are sensitive to student and family needs.

“Our continued support of the 17 charter schools in the Alliance is part of a wider effort to improve public education within the Native Hawaiian community,” said OHA Chairperson Colette Machado. “It’s a necessary step towards helping prepare Native Hawaiians for new opportunities and better jobs.”

OHA’s generous funding will support more than 4,000 students at 17 Hawaiian-focused public charter schools with enrollments that are 91-percent Hawaiian. Schools are located on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Hawaii Island.

Kanu o ka ‘aina literally means plants of the land and figuratively refers to natives of the land from generations back. Incorporated in 2000 as a Native Hawaiian non-profit, Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana (KALO) provides viable choices in education, which empower Hawaiian learners of all ages.

KALO’s womb-to-tomb programs constitute a dynamic intergenerational family of learners comprised of educators, students, parents, extended families, community supporters and partnering organizations dedicated to the perpetuation of Hawaii’s native language, culture and traditions.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is a unique, independent state agency established through the Hawaii State Constitution and statutes to advocate for the betterment of conditions of all Native Hawaiians with a Board of Trustees elected by the voters of Hawaii.

OHA is guided by a vision and mission to ensure the perpetuation of the culture, to protect the entitlements of Native Hawaiians, and to build a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation.

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