DOE Long Overdue in Improving Hawaiian Studies, Kupuna Say

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State education officials have consistently failed to comply with a scathing 2008 audit that called for them to improve and clarify the Hawaii Department of Education Hawaiian studies program, several teachers in the program told school board members Tuesday.

The Hawaii constitution requires that public schools promote Hawaiian culture, history and language through a comprehensive education program that the Board of Education vaguely defines in its policy book.

But teachers on Tuesday said the 33-year-old program has fallen short of the constitutional mandate, pointing to one component — employing kupuna, or elders, and other experts on a part-time basis to teach Hawaiian studies at elementary schools — as particularly problematic.

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