Today, our students face an uncertain, deeply complex economic future, both globally and locally. More than ever, students need to leave our K-12 system with the career readiness skills they need to thrive, and Hawaii needs to diversify its economy with high-wage, high-growth industries. 

We are thrilled to announce three big wins that will advance opportunities for kids and build the change we’re seeking: two bills that head to Governor Ige’s desk and one resolution that takes effect immediately.

If you believe in equipping our children and our Hawaii economy for the jobs of tomorrow, help by asking Governor Ige to support this critical mission by signing here.

Advocacy this year included virtual visits with legislators and students from our Youth Action Alliance Hawaii program.

In each case, HawaiiKidsCAN worked directly with bill sponsors to craft the legislation, engaged grassroots supporters to testify in support and lobbied lawmakers. This year, 2,820 House and Senate bills were introduced, but only 261 of them passed.

Win 1) SB 242: Computer science equity and early exposure

  • In 2018, we passed Act 51, which significantly expanded access to computer science education courses at the high school level, but students in the early grades were omitted. Research shows that early engagement is critically important for underrepresented groups of students to enter STEM careers.
  • SB 242 builds on Act 51 by requiring every public school – now including elementary and middle schools – to offer quality computer science courses by the 2024-2025 school year.
  • SB 242 greatly improves data transparency through an annual report from the Hawaii DOE that outlines the demographics of students enrolled in computer science courses and the teachers for those courses.
  • SB 242 ensures underrepresented students have a chance to excel in computer science, and that diverse role models are available at schools.
  • The bill was previously highlighted by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.


Win 2) SB 516: Career readiness for all

  • The pandemic transformed Hawaii overnight, at one point, going from 2% unemployment to one in four people out of work.
  • SB 516 helps students graduate ready to work in Hawaii.
  • The bill requires clear reporting of how schools are or are not preparing students and graduating them with valuable industry-recognized credentials.
  • This transparency will ensure that student groups such as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are receiving quality career readiness opportunities, and that credentials align with the Promising Credentials and Credentials Matter initiatives.
  • Bottom line: More students will graduate from high school with the opportunity to pursue a career of their dreams and earn enough to stay in Hawaii.


Win 3) HCR 161: Digital equity for all families

  • As we’ve learned through our work with WiFi on Wheels and the Hawaii Broadband Hui, many kids and families struggled mightily through the pandemic due to a lack of accessible home internet.
  • Quality distance learning erases geographical barriers and opens new doors to a tremendous number of personalized academic and career readiness learning opportunities.
  • HCR 161 formally adopts the goals and recommendations of the Hawaii Broadband Hui’s Digital Equity Declaration, which codifies universal access to high-speed internet and educational technology and closes the digital equity gap by 2030.
  • HawaiiKidsCAN is proud to have been part of the Broadband Hui’s steering group that went through a Smallify process to help draft the declaration and introduce HCR 161, and we’ve been the point organization for the hui to coordinate joint testimony for this session.

These wins accompanied by some relevant highlights from the larger budget, including more than $14 million and $25 million for broadband and technology improvements for schools and state libraries, respectively. We are also excited trauma-informed education will get a boost through HB 1322.

Stakeholder Reflections


All of these wins were fueled by strong community support, so we wanted to share some reflections from a few stakeholders.

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz (lead sponsor of SB 242 and SB 516): 

“As a Hawaii public school graduate, it was important for me to introduce SB 242 and SB 516 and collaborate with my colleagues in the legislature and community organizations like HawaiiKidsCAN to pass these two bills. These bills will provide our keiki with more opportunities to explore computer science in schools and equip our youth with the tools necessary for the jobs that already exist here in our state. I truly believe this is a step towards closing the achievement gap and addressing the inequities that exist within our school system. I appreciate all the advocacy work done by the community to make this possible.”

Representative Justin Woodson (lead sponsor of SB 242 and SB 516 House companions):

“I wanted to say a special mahalo to David Miyashiro and HawaiiKidsCAN, because it is always an honor and privilege to work with you folks. We were able to successfully get through two very important bills. The first one is SB 516. The second is SB 242. One will allow us to continue to build out our computer science curriculum, which is very important in the K-12 grade space. The second will allow us to continue to have conversations around our students and looking at industry-recognized credentialing, which we know is going to be very important in the future. So, mahalo again, Mr. Miyashiro, and we look forward to working with you next year.”

Hadi Partovi (Founder and CEO of

“Hawaii has made incredible progress in computer science over the past few years. The DOE developed a set of high-quality standards and worked to support schools and teachers while ensuring that every student has access to a CS course taught at their high school. We are grateful to Senator Dela Cruz and Representative Woodson for introducing this legislation to expand computer science to every elementary and middle school. We’re excited to continue our work, alongside STEMworks, to prepare teachers in the state of Hawaii to implement our K-12 computer science curriculum.”

Sherry Menor-McNamara (President and CEO of Chamber of Commerce Hawaii):

“Identifying the right credentials to offer Hawaii’s students matters now more than ever. Our state must make sure we’re preparing students for jobs that are forecasted to increase in demand, pay a family sustaining wage, and have a promising career ladder. Simply put, we want our youth to be able to remain in Hawaii and have successful careers. HawaiiKidsCAN, thank you so much for your outstanding leadership to pass Senate Bill 516, as well as to our state legislature for supporting this bill. This bill is important to helping our students thrive in Hawaii in high wage, high growth industries. The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii stands ready to support career and technical education in our state so that all students can succeed.”

Redwan Chowdhury (James Campbell High School graduate and Arizona State University computer science student):

“These new computer science bills are changing lives. And just look at me as an example. I’m someone from Hawaii, not traditionally a very computer science heavy place, but I really decided to give it a chance and discovered that computer science is now a passion of mine and that these bills and opportunities that I’ve gotten have made such a big impact on my life. And now I’m not only majoring in computer science in college, but I’ve used these opportunities to land a six-figure internship at Amazon. And I also started an online computer science channel, which has grown to about 120,000 followers. So I think if more kids from Hawaii had these opportunities with these computer science bills, that would be amazing. And I really like the direction we’re headed in.”

Burt Lum (Strategy officer for broadband in the state of Hawaii and lead convener of the Hawaii Broadband Hui):

“There’s a lot of work that went into working with our legislators and getting some of this key legislation passed. I think there was a great recognition on the part of our legislature recognizing not only digital equity, but the good work that has been going into the Broadband Hui, and that’s been a real testament to the journey that we’ve been on. And I also want to bring recognition to the great work that David’s been doing on the passage of SB 242, which is getting computer science as a required curriculum in the DOE. And I think that’s another example of how we are going to not only close the gap in terms of our digital inequity, but how do we ready our keiki to be competitive in the digital economy. And I think that’s of critical importance and, being the broadband guy, I really see that the infrastructure is important. But the layers on top of that broadband infrastructure, like distance learning, computer science, tele-health, and the applications that are going to be built, are critical for Hawaii’s not only survival, but how we thrive in the 21st century.”

Sarah Milianta-Laffin (Ilima Intermediate STEM teacher): 

“In 2017, I had the honor of being included in the first cohort of Hawaii educators trained in computer science by in Atlanta, GA. I remember looking around at the hundreds of educators from other states in the hotel ballroom, and worrying that our Hawaii students might be left behind in terms of computer science instruction. This feeling has stayed with me, and that’s why I’m so excited that SB 242 is growing computer science instruction in Hawaii. SB 242 means better training for teachers like me, better instruction for all of our students, and better data to help us reflect and improve. SB 242 isn’t just a win for teachers and students, it’s a win for the future of our state.” 

Members of the Hawaii Society for Technology in Education (HSTE) Board:

“Computer Science in Hawai‘i gains momentum each day, Mahalo to bravely innovative learners for leading the way. 3-2-1 Lift off… student imaginations will upwardly strive, As computer science opportunities empower dreams to thrive. We’ll be able to grow our own highly skilled workforce. To move or Hawai‘i nei? Grads will choose home of course! To all of our allies who gave SB 242 a hand, Mahalo and keep believing that all Hawaii Kids CAN!”



There are many, many people and organizations to thank who have made these wins possible. 

  • Organizations:
    • HSTE (SB 242/HB 1222)
    • (SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Hawaii DOE (SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Microsoft (SB 242/HB 1222)
    • TechNet (SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Oceanit (SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Chamber of Commerce Hawaii (SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Hawaii Workforce Development Council SB 242/HB 1222, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii P-20 (SB 516/HB 1223)
    • OHA (SB 516/HB 1223)
    • University of Hawaii system (SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Waipahu Safe Haven Immigrant/ Migrant Resource Center (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Auamo Collaborative (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • State of HI Department of Business Economic Development Tourism (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Crystal Clear Communications (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • MEO (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • PICHTR (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii Leeward Planning Conference (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii Island Economic Development Board (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii Dialogix Telecom (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Economic Development Alliance of Hawai`i (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii Literacy (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii Foodbank (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Nakupuna Foundation (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • O’ahu County Democrats Digital Equity Committee (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Tangent Systems (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Skog Rasmussen LLC (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Dept of Hawaiian Home Lands (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Kamehameha Schools (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Oahu Economic Development Board (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawai’i Community College (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaiian Electric (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii Consumers (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Papa Ola Lōkahi (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Hawaii State Public Library System (HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Michaels Management (HCR 161/SCR 88)


  • Legislators:
    • Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (Sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223; Chair: Senate Committee on Ways and Means)
    • Rep. Justin Woodson (Sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223; Chair: House Committee on Education)
    • Senator Glenn Wakai (Sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88; Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222; Chair: Senate Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism)
    • Rep. Della Au Bellati (Sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Michelle Kidani (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88; Chair: Senate Committee on Education)
    • Rep. Sylvia Luke (Chair: House Committee on Finance)
    • Rep. Sean Quinlan (Chair: House Committee on Economic Development)
    • Rep. Mark Nakashima (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223; Chair: House Committee on Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs)
    • Rep. Aaron Johanson (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88; Chair: House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce)
    • Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88; Vice chair: Senate Committee on Ways and Means)
    • Sen Bennette Misalucha (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, HCR 161/SCR 88; Vice chair: Senate Committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism)
    • Rep. Scot Matayoshi (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88; Vice chair: House Committee on Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs)
    • Rep. Jeanne Kapela (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223; Vice chair: House Committee on Education)
    • Rep. Daniel Holt (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223; Vice chair: House Committee on Economic Development)
    • Rep. Lisa Kitagawa (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223; Vice chair: House Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce)
    • Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88; Vice chair: Senate Committee on Education)
    • Rep. Ty Cullen (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88; Vice chair: House Committee on Finance)
    • Sen. Chris Lee (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Sharon Moriwaki (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Kurt Fevella (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Mike Gabbard (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Joy San Buenaventura (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Rep. Linda Ichiyama (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Lorraine Inouye (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, HCR 161/SCR 88
    • Sen. Dru Kanuha (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Rep. Troy Hashimoto (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Gregg Takayama (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222, SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Rep. David Tarnas (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223, HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Rep. Lynn DeCoite (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Rep. Cedric Gates (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Sen. Rosalyn Baker (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Rep. Nadine Nakamura (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Rep. Val Okimoto (Co-sponsor: SB 242/HB 1222)
    • Sen. Clarence Nishihara (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Matthew LoPresti (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Lauren Matsumoto (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Angus McKelvey (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. John Mizuno (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Richard Onishi (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Kyle Yamashita (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Sonny Ganaden (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Tina Wildberger (Co-sponsor: SB 516/HB 1223)
    • Rep. Henry Aquino (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Rep. Patrick Branco (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Rep. Greggor Ilagan (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Rep. Dale Kobayashi (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Rep. Nicole Lowen (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Stanley Chang (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Kalani English (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)
    • Sen. Les Ihara (Co-sponsor: HCR 161/SCR 88)

Most of all, thank YOU for being part of this journey. SB 242 and SB 516 still need to be signed into law by Governor Ige by July 6, so please sign here if you want to help these bills cross the finish line.

If you’d like to support our work, please consider making a donation.



David is the founding executive director of HawaiiKidsCAN. He lives in Honolulu, HI.


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