“Ask Your Senator:” State Senators Use New Media to Bring Education Week to the Classroom

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Graphic by Emily Metcalf

BY CAROLINE JULIAN FOR THE STATE SENATE MAJORITY – Education Week at the State Capitol is right around the corner!  It will be held from March 12 to March 16. Organized by the Hawaii State Senate Committee on Education, this interactive week-long celebration honors the achievements and innovative efforts of our local schools, educators, students, and various programs throughout the State, from early childhood to the university system.  The event marks nine years this year.  New to this year’s event is the “Ask Your Senator” project, which Hawaii State Senators take to the classroom.

The concept behind the “Ask Your Senator” project is simple. We want to know what classrooms and students from across the State are thinking by having the students asking Senators questions.


“As Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, I am constantly looking for ways to engage our State’s future leaders in the work we do today,” said Senator Jill Tokuda. “Their thoughts, opinions and ideas need to be heard at the legislative level, and it is incumbent on us to look for new and unique ways to communicate with them. Utilizing the tools social media provides to create a virtual civics classroom for our students is just one of the ways we can work with them to make a difference.”

This project provides opportunity for students to lead the discussion, through student driven and student oriented questions. Students may take part in the “Ask Your Senator” project as a group (school or classroom) or as individuals.  The various ways you can participate are listed below. Questions will be collected between March 5th and March 13th.  Once questions are selected, Senators will answer questions through videos which will be published online and sent back to the schools, classrooms, and individual students.

If you are a student and need help coming up with questions to ask, examples of questions could include topics such as: the legislative processes, issues or problems in your community, or general questions about the role of the legislature.

Ways to participate in “Ask Your Senator”

Email- Send your question (s) or video link to scomm@capitol.hawaii.gov

Twitter- Use the hashtag #HIAskYourSen

Facebook- There are several ways you can send a message on Facebook:

*  Share your message to the Hawaii Senate Majority Facebook page under the note Section, Ask Your Senator?
*  Share your message with your Senator on their Facebook page.

YouTube- Post a video question from you or your class with the title “Dear Hawaii State Senator, I Have a Question”