Column: School choice offers exciting ways to gain ‘ike in Hawaii
A‘ohe ka ‘ike i ka halau ho‘okahi. If you live in the Aloha State, attend school here, are kanaka ‘oiwi (native), or speak ka ‘olelo Hawai‘i (the Hawaiian language), chances are you’re familiar with this ‘olelo no‘eau (Hawaiian Proverb) and know it to be true.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
A‘ohe ka ‘ike i ka halau ho‘okahi.
If you live in the Aloha State, attend school here, are kanaka ‘oiwi (native), or speak ka ‘olelo Hawai‘i (the Hawaiian language), chances are you’re familiar with this ‘olelo no‘eau (Hawaiian Proverb) and know it to be true. For those who have not heard it, it simply implies, “Knowledge is not found in one school.”
Possibilities to attain ‘ike (wisdom, knowledge) are abundant in our unique island state. Hawai‘i is culturally diverse, historically rich, and environmentally omnifarious. Selecting the “best” school here in the islands ultimately depends on your interests. This National School Choice Week, Jan. 25 to Feb. 1, implement your power of choice in education. Let’s celebrate the exciting ways to gain ‘ike in Hawai‘i nei.
Traditional public schools, private schools, charter schools, Hawaiian language immersion schools, Christian schools, online academies, homeschool programs, community learning centers, Hawaii State Public Library programs, and dual learning options are some education opportunities families can consider. Learning opportunities are as varied as the cultures and world climate zones in our ‘aina. This means that, for students, there is potential all around. With our families, we can select a school of choice and other learning opportunities that support our interests.
Today, many educators, legislators and community leaders welcome the “student voice.”
Adults are listening to students, because they want to create more effective means of schooling and invest in tomorrow’s leaders. Forums and student youth summits empower ‘opio (youth) to express their ideas and solutions for a better future. Students are researching, public speaking, writing articles, protesting, posting on social media, and making content that matters.
All of this points to how students are capable, independent learners, and how — while choice of classroom is important — learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings. Life is where we learn some of our most valuable lessons.
The perspective of choice opens us up to learning well, both in school and in life. Regardless of which kula (school) a family selects, or the many awesome kumu (teachers) willing to impart their ‘ike, learning is a student’s kuleana (responsibility, duty, privilege). You could attend the most expensive school or a charter school where you were instructed by wahine navigators and crew members of the Hokule‘a, but if you closed your mind and chose not to learn, you wouldn’t.
Having a perspective of choice is paramount to success. So, accept ‘ike, choose to learn. Fellow students, attend class and be present. It’s you who ultimately benefit in the end. Be real. Make mistakes. Train your brain to discover lessons to be gained from that experience. Find solutions to the problems you see.
As Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” Focus on your goals. Ho‘omakaukau (prepare). Parents, make it easy for students to fall in love with learning by helping them select the school and other opportunities that best match their interests, strengths, and aspirations.
This National School Choice Week, I encourage everyone in Hawai’i to celebrate the learning environments students can use to grow in knowledge, take action and turn ideas into reality. Simply put, “E kulia i ka pono!”
Be righteous, become the best version of yourself, then share what you learn to perpetuate valuable ‘ike. Strive to be your best.
Phoenix Maimiti Valentine, is a student poet, photographer and filmmaker; she is a global contributor on Wikimedia Commons, a cultural practitioner and homeschooler from Mākaha.