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educational system are American and Western. A sensitive indicator of the differences in attitudes towards formal education in general, and American education in particular, is the proportion of children just beyond compulsory school age who are attending school. Especially in the earlier decades of the century, because the Territory's compulsory school age was 15, school attendance on the part of children aged 16 or 17 was "chiefly a reflection of a strong educational urge on the part of the young people themselves and especially on their parents." 29/ (The present mandatory school age in Hawaii is 18. ) In this regard, Table 13 contrasts the native and immigrant populations. In 1950, 78.1 percent of native Hawaiian 16- and 17-year olds were attending school, compared to 94.1 percent for Japanese and Chinese youths of the same age. It has been suggested that this does not mean that native Hawaiians did not value education, but rather reflects a disenchantment with "Western education." 30/

In terms of higher education, the 1950 census showed that 8.8 percent of Chinese who were 2 5 years or older had completed a college education. This compared with 3 percent for Japanese, 2.4 percent for native Hawaiians, and 0.3 percent for Filipinos.

1970 to 1980

The 1970 Census shows some improvement for native Hawaiians over the territorial attendance figures. However, native Hawaiians still lag behind other ethnic groups in key areas (see Table 14). The percentage of native Hawaiian 14- to 17-year olds who are in school is lower than that for any other group. Native Hawaiians were behind all ethnic groups, except Filipinos, in: median years of high school completed by those over 25 (12.0, compared with a State average of 12.3 and a total U.S. average of 12.1) V; and percent of those 2 5 years old and over who are high school graduates. Over 50 percent of native Hawaiians age 2 5 and over had not graduated from high school. More recent data (for 1977) show that 46.9 percent had completed high school. 31/

The Chinese, White and native Hawaiian groups had the highest percentage of students enrolled in private schools. In 1970, 10.8 percent of native Hawaiian children attending elementary school were enrolled in private schools. The corresponding figure for high schools was 14.4 percent. Thus, the overwhelming majority of native Hawaiian children attend public schools. 32/

The deficiencies in the area of higher education are particularly striking. The native Hawaiian group lags behind all groups in the percent of the population over 2 5 who have completed 4 or more years of college: only 4.2 percent of the native Hawaiian group completed 4 or more years in college. The statewide average is 14.0 percent and the Whites had the highest percentage of 21.5 percent. The 1977 data of the Hawaii Health Surveillance Program show that 4.6 percent of native Hawaiians completed college, compared to 16.8 percent of Caucasians (the highest) and 7.6 percent for Filipinos. 33/

A 1976 report by Alu Like, Inc. provides further information on the educational profile of native Hawaiians. Among the report's findings are:

  • Of the 224 public schools, 34 (15 percent) had enrollments that were 40 percent or more native Hawaiian.

*/ The low figure for Filipinos, 8.7 percent, is probably due to the fact that this group was the last immigrant group to arrive in Hawaii, and many older Filipinos have received little or no formal education.


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