Hawaii governor: Reform elementary school to add preschool

HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige wants to create universal public preschool in Hawaii by making elementary schools pre-kindergarten through fifth grade instead of the current kindergarten through grade six.

Ige told lawmakers in his state of the state address on Tuesday that grade six would become part of middle schools.

The governor says Hawaii needs more than 300 public pre-kindergarten classrooms. He says this is a long-term goal, but the state doesn’t have to wait to start until it has funding for all of it.

He says phasing-in public preschool will give the state the time to ensure that it has qualified preschool teachers to staff the classes.

The speech is the first state of the state address of Ige’s second term.

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