Roughly 23 years ago, the Hawaiian immersion school came into existence on the Paia School campus.
We, the parents who were brave enough to enroll our children in the school, along with the children themselves, faced a lot of scrutiny. We had to find ways to get busing for the children for years. We parents had to cut and paste hundreds of books so we'd have a library for the children.
With no help from the Bishop Estate or the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the public, as well as the Department of Education, bet that it would fail.
Today, the school is dominated by Hawaiian immersion students. So why is the DOE holding a lottery to accommodate families that want their children to learn the language as well as have a much better understanding of our culture?
The DOE should reopen the idea of giving the old Puunene School campus to the Hawaiian immersion program or bus the English students to Haiku.
The students who have graduated from the Hawaiian immersion program have moved on in life as successful and contributing members of the community. This is a public school program, not private. It is a successful program and it's gonna grow stronger.
It is time the DOE wake up and accommodate the kanaka maoli and all supporters of this successful program. And time the Bishop Estate and OHA get off their high horses and start putting more support to the true future of Hawaii - all of its children.