Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that Hawaii will receive $5.74 million in continued support under the Preschool Development Grant program, which funds high-quality preschool in Hawaii's public charter schools, including Hawaiian language immersion programs.
"Hawaii's Preschool Development Grant makes it possible for hundreds of Hawaii students to attend preschool, which is foundational for success in school and in life," said Senator Hirono. "I will work to see that the federal government comes through on its full four-year commitment to this vital program."
"It's a wonderful opportunity for public charter schools in Hawaii to expand the educational offerings available to their communities by providing high-quality preschool programs. We are thrilled that this grant will enable us to continue to provide access to families who may otherwise be unable to afford preschool for their keiki," said Sione Thompson, Executive Director of the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission.
Hawaii is one of 18 states nationwide that will receive more than $247.4 million in funding to continue their work in expanding access to high-quality preschool for children from low- to moderate-income families. The funding marks the third year of Hawaii's four-year Preschool Development Grant, which Senator Hirono worked to create. The four-year grant gives nearly 1,000 Hawaii students access to early education.
Senator Hirono has continued to support early childhood education and expanded access to early learning programs in Hawaii's public schools. As Lieutenant Governor, she started Pre-Plus, which established public preschool classrooms on elementary school campuses in the State. Senator Hirono is also the author of the Providing Resources Early for Kids Act, or PRE-K Act, to further promote early childhood education, which she has advocated for in Congress since 2007. Last year, Senator Hirono worked with her colleagues to ensure that robust funding for the Preschool Development Grant program was included in the Every Student Succeeds Act, which became law on December 10, 2015 and updates federal K-12 programs and policies.