kupuna at schools
could cost $1.1 million
A plan proposes strengtheningProgram plan
classes and adding more
staff for the programs
By Crystal Kua
Breathing life back into Hawaiian studies in the public schools while also keeping kupuna in the classroom could cost the Department of Education $348,800 to more than $1.1 million.
The estimated costs are included in a plan entitled, "'O ke Kahua Mua, Ma Hope E Kukulu -- Make then Foundation Firm, then Build Upon It," -- which sets recommendations for strengthening the Hawaiian Studies Program.
The implementation and financial plan is the first comprehensive review of the Hawaiian Studies since curriculum guides for the program in 1981.
"It's very detailed in terms of a road map," said Garrett Toguchi, a Board of Education member. "It tells us what the vision is and the routes we need to take to get there."
Toguchi's Special Programs Committee is scheduled to discuss the plan and vote on whether to approve it at its meeting tomorrow.
Supporters of the Hawaiian Studies Program point to the state Constitution as a mandate for the public schools to provide a Hawaiian education program centered on language, culture and history.
Budget cuts in recent years have led to the elimination of state and district positions which provided support to the Hawaiian studies program and the kupuna, or grandparents.
"As a result, the program has gone downhill," said Roy Benham, a kupuna and a member of the group that worked on the Hawaiian studies plan.
The program's decline has resulted in a dwindling number of participating kupuna, who have become symbols of the program.
Toguchi, Benham and others agree more money and positions are needed, but there are differing opinions on what form that support should take.
Benham said that while kupuna are a vital part of the program, the original intent of the program was to have classroom teachers responsible for delivering the Hawaiian studies material to students.
Benham said he would like to see eight positions at a cost of $320,000 for helping teachers and kupuna with Hawaiian studies curriculum. He also advocates a minimum number of Hawaiian studies courses that should be required for those training to become teachers.
"Hawaiian studies is the responsibility of each teacher. But today no one is providing the teachers with support for that," he said. "Kupuna are community resources. It was never the intention that they would be running the program."
Kupuna are supposed to enrich the lessons taught by the teacher, Benham said. As an example, a teacher giving a lesson on American history could also include parallel or intertwining events in Hawaii's history. Kupuna could then come in and talk about people, places, songs, hula, art or other topics related to the period the regular classroom teacher discussed with students.
Puanani Wilhelm, a DOE educational specialist who oversees the Hawaiian Studies Program, said without that knowledge of Hawaiian history, culture, language and values, anyone living here would not understand the significance of current events such as the sovereignty movement or ceded lands issues.
Wilhelm said the recommendations in the report came about when kupuna said they needed more support. Some ideas cost money, some don't.
One idea is to give districts a chunk of money and have them decide how to use it to support Hawaiian studies.
One of the models in the report calls for districts to form Hawaiian studies teams at a cost of $210,000
Kealifi Gora, a Hawaiian studies makua who has been lobbying for more than a year for more resources, said kupuna are continuing to leave the program this school year either on their own or because they have not been asked to return to the school.
Gora said he supports 38 full-time positions at a cost of $1 million to provide training, and other forms of support.
Anything less, he said, would mean the continued decline of the program.
He said he believes the estimates in the plan may be too low, and he thinks it may cost more than $1.1 million.
Toguchi said the key is to infuse the program into the education system and to apply consistency.
He advocates at least one more statewide position to coordinate the program because Wilhelm is also busy overseeing the Hawaiian language immersion program.
"'O ke Kahua Mua, Ma Hope E Kukulu" (Make the Foundation Firm, then Build Upon It) is the plan for the Department of Education's Hawaiian studies:
GOALSHawaiian content and perspectives will be an integral part of all instruction.
All classroom teachers will have basic knowledge of and appreciation for the language, culture and history of Hawaii.
All students in Hawaii public schools will graduate with a high level of understanding of and appreciation for the language, culture and history of Hawaii.
All Hawaiian studies personnel will speak Hawaiian.
MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONSEstablish an advisory council to the board and the education department of kupuna and others involved in the Hawaiian Studies Program.
Re-establish support for the Hawaiian studies kupuna at the district level.
Standardize and modernize policies for the compensation, training, hiring and retention of kupuna.
Develop "Hawaiian Knowledge" standards that will incorporate the "Hawaii Content and Performance Standards."
SPECIFIC POINTSAmong the specific recommendations:
Form a curriculum development and review committee to update existing material and to create new material and development assessment tools.
Encourage teacher training programs to require minimum courses in Hawaiian language, culture, values and history.
Provide systematic and sustained in-service training.
Compensate kupuna for work and training.
Provide support positions at the district/complex level.
Create a clear set of standards.
Provide resources for skilled teachers, quality materials and genuine experiences to allow students to reach standards.
Assure consistent application of hiring, training and compensation procedures statewide.
Work with the community to develop multiple paths to fluency in Hawaiian
ESTIMATED COSTSPre-service training design and delivery $4,200 Contract to teach Hawaiian language to kupuna $12,600 Advisory group $15,000 District/complex support $210,000 to $1,000,000 Hawaiian Studies informational video $5,000 Curriculum and program evaluation $100,000 Hawaiian Studies informational Web site $2,000 TOTAL $348,800 to $1,138,800