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Other private schools were established, mostly under denominational auspices, although some received government support. Throughout most of the second half of the nineteenth century, these private schools offered the only secondary education that was available. 3/

English was not taught in Hawaiian public schools until the early 1850's. The missionaries were at first very much against the idea of abandoning the Hawaiian language as the medium of instruction. They believed that "in order to preserve the nation, they must preserve its speech." 4/ However, by the middle of the nineteenth century English had become the primary language of business, government, and diplomacy. In 1844, a weekly newspaper published in English was the official organ of the kingdom's government. 5/ The government was pressured to encourage the teaching of English in public schools by both foreigners and Hawaiians. 6/ In 1853-54, the kingdom's legislature enacted laws to support English schools for native Hawaiians. In 1854, ten such schools were established and by the end of the century, all public school instruction was in English.

In 1854, the government also reorganized the school system along territorial, rather than sectarian, lines. Although religious organizations remained involved in the public school system for several years, their influence eventually waned. However, religious groups continued to establish numerous vocational and secondary schools.

During the years of the Republic of Hawaii (1894-1900), further developments occurred in the school system. Educators were invited to come to Hawaii from the mainland. The Constitution of the Republic prohibited the use of public money for denominational schools. Honolulu High School, which was the first public secondary school in Hawaii, was established in 1895. 7/

Henry S. Townsend was named inspector general of the Hawaii school system in 1896. He was very much associated with the new philosophy of progressive education that was being espoused on the mainland by John Dewey, and he introduced it to Hawaii's teachers. 8/ Townsend also persuaded the Republic to establish a Normal School so that Hawaii could train its own teachers. In 1905, of 400 teachers employed in the public schools, 148 were native Hawaiian. 9/ In 1899, the Republic abolished the practice of charging tuition for public schools, and this further advanced the cause of universal education.

At the time of annexation, there were several types of schools in Hawaii. There were 140 public schools and 55 private schools. There was only one foreign language school (in Japanese) but this would be substantially augmented later with more Japanese, Chinese, and Korean language schools. Several industrial and vocational schools also existed, including the Kamehameha Schools for native Hawaiian boys and girls, which was established in 1887. In a class by itself was Punahou, which was a "symbol of educational excellence as well as elite status," with an exclusionary policy that it would maintain for some time. 10/

Territorial Education System

After annexation, many teachers were brought to Hawaii from the mainland, and the process of "Americanization" began in earnest. Hawaii's public schools became the primary carrier of American values to all of the races that inhabited the islands. Oriental families quickly took advantage of the school system.


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