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The most important voices in Hawaii are the ones heading back to school

To make sure Hawaii’s students and teachers have a chance to lead, last year HawaiiKidsCAN launched WAVE – a program that empowers both students and teachers to learn advocacy tactics, craft policy proposals, and submit their recommendations to the legislature and Board of Education.

We’re excited to share the perspectives of four student leaders from this program with you – Pua Olena Torres, Dyson Chee, Camron Johnson-Lee and Phoenix Maimiti Valentine – on the eve of their new school year.  Pua, Dyson, Camron and Phoenix are pursuing their education in diverse ways – at a traditional public, at a charter high school and in homeschooling environments. All of them, however, are emblematic of the incredible individuals in the WAVE Youth Program who all have a desire to see a more just and equitable state, country and world.


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Standing up for transparency and accountability in the Garden State

The JerseyCAN team recently released a new report: The Real Test: Are We Committed to Excellence and Equity in New Jersey?  Our report examines the success that New Jersey has experienced in adopting  a meaningful assessment that is aligned to our high academic standards and makes the case that, in this pivotal moment, we need to ensure that the promising progress continues despite a variety of political headwinds.

There are important implications here for other states across the country.  JerseyCAN’s latest report shares significant evidence that, at a time when so many other states are retreating from more rigorous academic standards and assessments, New Jersey has remained committed to the promise that all students can succeed at high levels. Yet while we have maintained consistent goalposts for students and educators over the past four years, troubling equity gaps remain. We still have far to go if positive trends are to be extended to all of New Jersey’s students.