Growing desire to learn

Island School senior Deanna Sloger is looking forward to attending college.

“I feel that college is a continuation of education,” Sloger said Monday. “In the world today that we’re living in, you kind of have to go to college in order to be able to really succeed because it’s coming down to where if you have a master’s degree you’ll be able to get like basic jobs now.”

More graduates of Hawaii’s public high schools are enrolling in college, according to a report released Monday.

The college-going rate for public high school graduates was 56 percent in 2014, up from 54 percent each of the previous two years and from 50 percent five years ago, said the report by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education reported by the Associated Press. The nonprofit organization focuses on early childhood to college.

The organization’s College and Career Readiness Indicators report shows that nearly 6,300 graduates of last year’s graduating class enrolled in either a two- or four-year college in the fall. Two-thirds of those students enrolled at a University of Hawaii campus.

“Students are way more prepared now for college-level coursework than ever before,” said Hawaii P-20 Executive Director Karen Lee.

She said not only are more students going to college, there’s a drop in the number of students requiring remedial math and English courses.

The percentage of Waianae High School graduates enrolling in college last year increased 10 percentage points to 46 percent.

“Many of our students’ families haven’t gone to college … so how to maneuver that system isn’t well known,” Waianae Principal Disa Hauge told the AP. “It’s getting that foot in the door … that allows them to then go to college and be successful because they’ll be prepared.”

The increase moves Hawaii closer to the state Department of Education’s goal of a 71 percent college-going rate by 2018.

Kalani High School had the highest rate at 77 percent.

The national college-going rate for last year’s graduating class is 66 percent.

Many Kauai students want to attend college, including senior David Harris, who attends Island School, which is private.

”I’m pretty excited about it,” Harris said. “In this society, college has been placed above anybody who doesn’t have college, so it’s sort of a necessity to get a decent paying job unless you’re lucky.”

Harris plans to attend college at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and study computer science.

“It’s always better for the society to be more educated so they make better decisions in general,” Harris said. “It will also create less expensive imports and more expensive exports as we are able as a country to develop our economy.”

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Staff reporter Averie Soto contributed to this report.

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