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I believe that every student should have access to high-quality, affordable education. An investment in education must start at the pre-kindergarten level with programs like Head Start to ensure that all students are ready for kindergarten and succeed in elementary school. Investments in education need to also continue through high school, career and technical training and college so all of Hawaii’s keiki can get good, quality, competitive jobs in our global economy.

K-12 Education

In the current Congress, I am focused on investments to support school infrastructure projects, provide for growing technology needs in the classroom, improve teacher recruitment and training, sustain Native Hawaiian immersion education programs and ensure minorities and women can pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).

For more information about elementary and secondary education issues under consideration by Congress, please read a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service

Career and technical education (CTE) programs have been critical in providing high school students with the relevant technical knowledge and skills they need to prepare for further education and occupations in emerging professions. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I helped secure $1.4 billion for CTE programs in Fiscal Year 2023. Research has proven that these programs mitigate high school dropout and absentee rates and increase participants’ overall employment outcomes and earnings.

COVID-19 and the Classroom

The American Rescue Plan Act, which I voted to pass in March 2021, provided our Hawai‘i Department of Education with $460 million to help students return to the classroom and schools deal with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including to support teacher training, address learning loss, maintain clean classrooms and modernize technology systems.

I believe it is important to talk directly to those affected by these challenges. This is why I regularly visit our schools to talk with students and staff about adjusting to in-person instruction despite the challenges posed by the ongoing health crisis. You can watch a video of my visit to Mililani High School on my YouTube channel (

Higher Education

In the United States, rising tuition costs have made it an increasingly more difficult for many to go to college. I believe we need to make it easier for students to afford the cost of higher education. During my time in Congress, I have strongly supported federal programs that help borrowers manage and pay off their student loan debt, including through need-based scholarships.

The federal Pell Grant program has been essential to preserving college opportunities and narrowing the achievement gap for lower income and otherwise disadvantaged students. I have consistently supported programs like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that provides debt forgiveness in return for public service in certain fields such as medical care in underserved areas. The whole issue of student loan repayment is under active debate in Congress. I am working with my colleagues in this effort to ensure these programs work better for students and borrowers in our Hawai‘i and across the country.