a school environment? I’ll give you a simple answer. Hell yes!…If in schools the teachers do not take political action, or discuss politics and recent issues, all they’re doing is graduating ignorant fools.…And we all know that ignorant fools leading ignorant fools leads to senseless and illegal actions [like] the Iraqi War. Make sure that the political actions around the world aren’t hidden from our youth because forgotten knowledge is useless. Make sure the youth [are] not ignorant to the world around them. — Kalani L. D. Aldosa, 12th grade, 2007The following year, students in Papa Lo‘i studied the same issue, although they participated in different political actions. This time, they attended proceedings at the Hawai‘i State Capitol as legislators considered a measure that would put a 10-year moratorium on genetic engineering of kalo and several bills that would affect charter school funding. When we posed the same question to this class, over half of their reflections mirrored Kalani’s sentiments above. Some of the responses included below were framed within the context of our school needing to strongly advocate for equitable funding for all charter schools as public schools. Here are a few excerpts of the students’ responses to the question of whether or not politics belongs in schools.
184Hülili Vol.5 (2008)I feel that politics does belong in school because we get to exercise our beliefs through protesting.…It also teaches us to be open about our opinions when it comes to political issues. We are not only learning about Math and English we are now learning about what happens in the real world and what will affect our lives in the future.—Kukahi Lua, 9th grade, 2008I think it’s good that teachers are involved in politics and that they share their mana‘o (perspective) with their students.…I think it’s important for us to protest and fight for what we believe in. It’s also good for the politicians to hear our voice and know that whatever the problem is, [it] is affecting us.—Victoria Tom, 10th grade, 2008It’s good to be aware of your political problems in your area. Usually no other schools but charter schools go to the Capitol to fight for what they want. Sometimes we’re educated more on certain problems than our parents.—Lakela Duque, 11th grade, 2008The things we get to do in school [are] pretty amazing. Going down to the Capitol and fighting for the things we believe in is a good way to show the people that we stand up for what is right.—Willy Kaina, 9th grade, 2008There is no doubt in my mind that the strongest leo (voice) is that of the haumäna (student). I strongly believe that political issues do belong in school because it is the future [of] the students that most of today’s disputes will affect.—Noeau Paalani, 11th grade, 2008
185GOODYEAR-KA‘ÖPUA|tEaCHInG amId oCCuPatIonI believe that students and schools have a lot of power, in fact I know this. Just look at the Civil Rights movement.