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Posted: Thursday, December 26th, 2013 2:04 PM HST

Hawaii teachers union supports public pre-K plan

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) The union representing Hawaii's public school teachers is now supporting the idea of funding pre-kindergarten classes at public schools.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association previously opposed many of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposals for publicly funded universal preschool. Hawaii is one of 11 states without state-funded preschool.

Key to the HSTA's support is ensuring qualified teachers are in pre-kindergarten classes.

HSTA President Wil Okabe notes that not all preschools in the private sector are licensed or have certified teachers. He says the union also wants pre-kindergarten and kindergarten to be mandatory to help secure public funding.

Okabe says the union wants to ensure consistency for when students start kindergarten at public schools.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday the HSTA lists the initiative among its legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

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