[ OUR OPINION ]
a worthwhile endeavor
KAMEHAMEHA Schools continues its efforts to help educate more Hawaiian children by providing scholarships to teachers and aides who will commit to jobs in troubled public schools with a high number of Hawaiian students. It is a worthy undertaking that extends Kamehameha's reach beyond the walls of its facilities and grants benefits to the public education system as well.
Kamehameha Schools is offering financial aid to encourage more Hawaiians to take up teaching in public schools.
Chronic teacher shortages exacerbate a high turnover of educators at schools in low-income communities, which are generally populated by Hawaiian children. These are schools that come under pressure from the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates steady improvements in children's learning, and are considered less-desirable postings.
With two scholarship programs, Kamehameha Schools hopes to encourage Hawaiians to become teachers and improve skills of education aides, help them pay for their education and steer them toward schools that Hawaiian children attend. It has budgeted $500,000 for the programs, a substantial amount of money.
The Pauahi Educators Scholarship is being offered to at least 25 Hawaiian students who are in the last two years of study for a bachelor's degree in education or who are working toward post-bachelor's degree teaching certificates. The Kumu Kokua Scholarship will give financial assistance to as many as 50 educational assistants already working in certain schools to pursue professional certification to meet federal standards.
In return, those awarded scholarships must commit to working in troubled public schools that have at least a 33 percent Hawaiian student population, a Hawaiian-focused charter school or Hawaiian-language immersion school.
Kamehameha Schools, endowed with a $6 billion trust by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, has made great strides in turning its focus toward its core mission of educating Hawaii's children after the institution was tarnished with corruption of its former board members. It has nearly 4,900 children enrolled on three campuses and about 30 preschool operations in Hawaii. Kamehameha has collaborated with others, such as the state Department of Education, for outreach programs to include more than 12,000 others.
The scholarships further enhance Kamehameha Schools' role in education as it persists in developing more opportunities for Hawaiian children.