From June 25 through July 5, 2017, the National Education Association (NEA) held its Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly in Boston, Massachusetts. The NEA is the largest labor union of 3 million members who work at every level of education that span from pre-school to university graduate programs. Formed in 1857, the NEA’s “mission is to advocate for education professionals and to unite our members and the nation to fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.” Members include public school teachers, educational support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, and school administrators.
The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association (HSTA) is an affiliate union of the NEA whose members come from the public schools throughout Hawai‘i. Its Secretary/Treasurer, Amy Perruso, a teacher from Mililani High School was one of the first teachers to begin teaching about the illegal overthrow of the government of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the illegal American occupation that followed. The textbook that she uses is Ua Mau Ke Ea—Sovereignty Endures: An Overview of the Political and Legal History of the Hawaiian Islands by Dr. Keanu Sai.
Perruso teaches Pre-AP Modern Hawaiian History/Participation in Democracy, AP U.S. History and A.P. Government and Politics. Commenting on the textbook Ua Mau Kea Ea, she stated, “Secondary educators in Hawai‘i are extremely fortunate to be able to access the rarest of pedagogical materials for the required Hawai‘i DOE Modern Hawaiian History course: an academically sound and well-written textbook.”
When the United States was celebrating its independence as a country on the 4th of July, the NEA’s Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly convened and for 90 minutes they took up New Business. On the agenda was New Business Item 37 introduced by the HSTA Representatives, which stated:
“The NEA will publish an article that documents the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy in 1893, the prolonged occupation of the United States in the Hawaiian Kingdom and the harmful effects that this occupation has had on the Hawaiian people and resources of the land.”
According to the HSTA Facebook, Chris Santomauro, a teacher at Kane‘ohe Elementary introduced the proposal, and Uluhani Wai‘ale‘ale, a teacher at Kualapu‘u Charter School on Moloka‘i gave an impassioned and articulate argument in favor of the proposal and it swayed a majority of teachers from across the United States to support it.