Esther Kiaaina
Esther Kiaaina

BY ESTHER KIAAINA – If you drew up a list of my top priorities in Congress, advocating for policies that would help improve public education would rank right near the top.

For that reason, I stand ready to assist with efforts to instill in Hawaii’s public school students a real interest in science, technology, engineering and math – subjects that are critical to our state’s economic vitality and competitiveness.

This is about much more than reversing years of decline in our public school students’ achievement gains in such subjects as science and math. Instead, it’s about adequately preparing our public school students for a more diverse economy shaped by technology and globalization.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that jobs requiring science, technology, engineering and math skills will increase 34 percent by 2018. Also, it is estimated that Hawaii will need to fill 29,000 of those jobs by then.  The average annual salary for these jobs are about $74,958.

It is increasingly clear that building a world-class education system that provides students with a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and math must be part of any meaningful impact that we expect any new generation to have in reshaping the Hawaii workforce.

Given this reality, I will provide a strong and effective voice for growing statewide interest in not only developing the skills of Hawaii students in science, technology, engineering and math, but efforts to equip tech-savvy, analytical students with skills they need today to solve the problems of tomorrow.

Esther Kiaaina is a Democrat candidate for Congress, Hawaii district 2.

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