Education State of the States

Robotics, Technology Priorities in Hawaii

By Linda Jacobson — January 30, 2007 1 min read


Saying the state must provide Hawaii’s students with the education they need to “compete with the best and the brightest from around the world,” Gov. Linda Lingle used her Jan. 22 State of the State address to highlight initiatives focusing on the latest technology skills.

Gov. Linda Lingle

She mentioned her recent trip to New Hampshire, where she viewed a robotics program for teenagers that teaches science, technology, engineering, and math skills, known collectively as STEM skills.

And she welcomed students from McKinley High School in Honolulu who are participating in a robotics team through an organization known as FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

Gov. Lingle, a Republican who is beginning her second term, also announced that NASA, a FIRST sponsor, has committed $1 million to finance up to 20 robotics teams in Hawaii as well as a regional competition in March.

“I believe whether or not students become engineers or scientists, mastering STEM skills will equip them to contribute in significant ways to a sustainable economy based on innovation,” she said.

Sticking to the same theme, Ms. Lingle said she is proposing additional learning opportunities to help students in grades 6-9 gain STEM skills through project-based learning. And she said she would like to establish STEM academies in high schools to allow students to earn both high school and college credits.

She also announced an initiative to “ensure that the digital democracy becomes a reality in Hawaii.” She said her administration would work with counties and the private sector to make wireless Internet access available throughout the state by 2010. One of the first steps would be establishing wireless service at schools.

“If we succeed,” the governor said, “Hawaii’s students will be able to digitally access the best physics instructor in the nation, or watch an art lesson by a renowned painter anywhere in the world.”

Read a complete transcript of Gov. Linda Lingle’s 2007 State of the State address. Posted by Hawaii’s Office of the Governor.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 31, 2007 edition of Education Week