BY COLLEEN HANABUSA – It is the end of the first week of school for many of our public school kids.  I have heard from parents all over the district that not only they, but their children, are glad that Furlough Fridays are a thing of the past.

My dedication to education in Hawai`i has always been one of my top priorities.  It shows not only in my fight for children with special needs, and my help with the establishment of the now-famous Wai`anae Seariders program but with the work I have done to toughen our drug laws.

Our children are our most precious asset, and although the saying may seem trite, they are the future of Hawai’i’.   The Fridays they lost last year were not a complete loss because our hard working teachers doubled up, and helped with extra lessons.  But we must see that this never happens again.

My congratulations and heartfelt appreciation goes out to my fellow legislators who found the way, wrote the bill, and got the money released to end Furlough Fridays.  We must never again repeat the error of holding our children hostage to anything.

Now, Hawai`i has been chosen as a second round finalist in the federal government’s prestigious Race to the Top competition. Our selection reflects the fact that our schools are improving, and that the Board and Department of Education, along with all of our hard working teachers, principals and staff are making headway.

I am so grateful to all of those who care for our children- who show them that education is exciting and enriching- and who remind them frequently that they are “lucky to live Hawai`i.”  So are we.

SENATOR COLLEEN HANABUSA, D-WAIANAE, IS THE HAWAII SENATE PRESIDENT AND A CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS, DISTRICT 1

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