The following editorial was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday, November 4, 2018 as part of the "Raise Your Hand" column in the Insights section.
By: Ian Eshelman
Mililani High School, Class of 2019
Public education is a core component of making today’s society function. Without a strong public education system, our youth would be hard-pressed to learn and grow, creating a bleak future for everyone. Therefore, the need to dedicate ourselves to improving public schooling and by proxy, our future, is of utmost importance. Wanting a brighter future for all of us, our governor, David Ige, has been taking steps towards creating better public school environments and is thus deserving of another term. I am confident that he will continue to enact change that will positively affect Hawaii, especially our youth.
Currently, Governor Ige has cooled over 1,300 classrooms, providing more students with a healthy learning environment while still minimizing costs for the schools themselves. His initiative is designed to mitigate the heat in classrooms as efficiently as possible, allowing schools to save on electricity bills and put that money into educational programs. Having cooled classrooms allows students to focus on their studies instead of being overheated and sluggish. It also makes crowded classrooms much easier to teach and learn in by reducing the effects of having so many people in a small area.
As for the curriculum provided in schools, Ige has been a strong supporter of the dual credit program. This program allows high school students to take college level courses and earn credit at both the high school and college level for free. By taking dual credit courses, students are able to accelerate their college careers while reducing the amount of courses that they would have to pay for in college. Governor Ige also created “Hawaii’s Promise” which offers state assistance to local, low-income community college students to help pay for tuition, books, supplies and transportation costs. By reducing the costs of college, many more students that would never be able to afford college are now able to complete higher education.
Extracurricular activities comprise much of a student’s high school career, and Ige has provided many opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom. Specifically, Ige has been advocating for students to get more involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. He has created competitions such as the Hack-a-thon and the Agathon, competitions focused on getting students working with companies to create products. These competitions give students an entry to the working world by both showing them how the design and invention of a product works, and giving them professional contacts who work in the industry.
Voting is a powerful right that we all should exercise. I encourage everyone to take the time to vote by absentee, walk-in, or on November 6th. If I was old enough, I would cast my vote for Governor Ige. He cares deeply about the young people of Hawaii. The Governor is a strong leader focused on developing an innovation economy where students like myself can look towards robust employment opportunities in the future. His leadership will allow young people to stay in Hawaii, contribute to our communities and raise our future families for years to come.