Out of the more than 200 bills that were approved during the 2021 legislative session, a handful were education-related. Some lawmakers and education advocacy groups are calling the session a success, but understand the state’s education system continues to be a work in progress.
Due to the impacts of the pandemic, some state lawmakers and education advocates focused primarily on preventing significant cuts to any education effort. They also narrowed their focus on measures and topics they wanted to address this session.
“Everything we wanted to get through, we were able to get through this year,” said Rep. Justin Woodson, chair of the House education committee.
SB 242 was one bill that was approved by the state legislature, and is being considered by Governor David Ige. It builds off of 2018’s Act 51, which promotes access to computer science courses in high schools, and expands it to include the elementary and intermediate school levels.
“In Hawaii, over the next 10 years, computer science-related jobs are gonna grow twice as fast, and pay twice as much as everything else,” said David Miyashiro, executive director of the nonprofit Hawai?i Kids Can. “And yet, when we looked at what was being offered in our schools, we didn’t see that recognition.”
If approved it would go into effect at the start of the 2024-2025 school year.