Education is one of the most pivotal ways to positively affect the life outcomes of low-income and immigrant children to achieve equal opportunity to create successful lives for themselves and their families. Good education is essential to overcoming poverty. As such, Hawai‘i Appleseed acutely recognizes the importance of focusing ensuring quality public education in Hawai‘i for all. Our work ensures that low-income and immigrant children are not denied a quality education because of discrimination, lack of fair and equally applied disciplinary practices, poor staffing or designed language sensitive classes and/or status as a homeless child.
Hawai’i Appleseed is currently investigating the link between the level of student poverty and public schools’ success rates in Hawai‘i. The percentage of low-income students at a given campus is one of the most significant indicators of both individual student success and of the school’s ability to educate its student body. This study is looking at ways that systemic poverty impacts the public education system in Hawai‘i and how the effects of poverty on learning can be mitigated.
Much of Appleseed’s work tangentially affects education outcomes in Hawai‘i. For example, Hawai‘i Appleseed is currently partnering with local schools to increase the number of eligible children who receive school breakfasts. Currently, only about 40% of Hawai‘i schoolchildren who are eligible to receive school breakfasts take advantage of this program – the fourth-lowest rate in the country. The positive outcomes of breakfast for children are incontrovertible, and this program will help Hawai‘i’s keiki improve their academics and make them more ready for school.