Governor Josh Green, M.D., signed several education- and early-education-related bills into law on Monday that he said will have positive and far-reaching impacts for Hawai‘i keiki, educators and school facilities in the years to come.
“These new laws will provide additional support to advance the efforts of many throughout our public school system, to educate students,” said Gov. Green. “Nearly 169,000 students were enrolled in public and charter schools during the 2022 to 2023 school year. A number like that highlights the need for sound policies and support systems, sufficient funding, and resources for employees to ensure quality teaching and learning. Clearly, our students of today, are our leaders, our workforce and our parents of tomorrow, and it is our kuleana to set them up for success.”
Gov. Green signed four bills at the ceremony, adding to seven education bills detailed below.
“We need 1,200 teachers to fill our annual teacher shortage,” Gov. Green said. “Construction of teacher housing is seen as a key step in the future of education of Hawaiʻi’s keiki. Affordable housing will aid in recruitment and retention of teachers, and that will help to address the shortage. SB941 (Act 172) authorizes the School Facilities Authority to partner with public and private agencies to develop housing on- or off-campus for teachers, other educators and staff, and to develop classrooms.”
Governor Green thanked Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke for leading the charge for the youngest of our learners. He said the Lieutenant Governor has taken a progressive approach to providing a strong foundation for early education efforts.
HB503 (Act 174) acknowledges the importance of computer science in an increasingly technology-driven world, by requiring the Board of Education to determine whether making computer science a graduation requirement would be in the best interests of public school students and the public; and if so, to work with the Department of Education to analyze a timeline and process for making computer science a graduation requirement by no later than the 2030-2031 school year.
“From artificial intelligence to advances in healthcare, renewable energy, and agriculture, the current and future impact of technology cannot be overstated,” said David Sun-Miyashiro, executive director of HawaiiKidsCAN. “That is why computer science is a foundational area of education in 2023 and beyond. HB503 is critical in that it increases equity and access to computer science courses for all of Hawai‘i’s students, so that the STEM fields will finally reflect the diversity of our state. Our youth will not only understand these core concepts, but they’ll also have the choice to shape the innovations of the future and have jobs that enable them to afford to stay in Hawai‘i.”
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